Comment on council deficits

Commenting on council budget deficits, ADCS Vice President Steve Crocker said:

“Council funding was in a parlous state before the pandemic hit with local authorities having had their budgets cut by around half over the last decade. The past 18 months has created a perfect storm for our finances as costs have significantly increased and many vital income streams have reduced. Indeed, research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies noted that councils faced a £2bn funding shortfall in the previous financial year to deal with the costs of the pandemic.

“Local authorities have sought to manage these pressures but in order to ensure our communities thrive in a post Covid-19 world we need proper, sustainable, and equitable funding from central government. If we don’t get the funding we need, councils will have to make difficult choices about the future of valued local services and exhaust their reserves when we should be focussing efforts on the continued effect of the pandemic and helping children, families and communities recover.

“The impact of rising council deficits on children’s services cannot be overstated. Councils have worked hard to manage demand and protect the most vulnerable, but they have been left with no other option but to perversely cut the very services that enable us to intervene early before crisis hits. This is a false economy and is storing up huge financial and human costs for the future. Now more than ever we need to work with children and families who are at risk of poor outcomes at the earliest possible stage, but only with adequate long-term national investment can we continue to provide this vital support.”


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