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Labour, GMB and LGA slam local government settlement announcement

LOCAL AUTHORITIES warned they will still have to make more spending cuts after the government gave them the green light to raise council tax by up to 3 per cent next year.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire announced in the Commons that councils would also share an additional £1.3 billion under the provisional local government finance settlement.

He claimed this meant they would get a real-terms increase in spending power in 2019/20, from £45.1 billion in the current financial year to £46.4 billion.

Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter warned it was not enough for councils that face an overall funding gap of £3.2 billion in 2019/20 after a further £1.3bn cut that year that would amount to 36 per cent of council budgets.

Labour’s shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said the announcement would mean “an inflation-busting increase in council tax, and no end in sight for austerity.”

He said: “Local government is under enormous pressure because of politically motivated Tory cuts that have hit our poorest areas hardest since 2010.

“Councils have lost 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour government invested in our communities … 

“Shifting the burden on to council tax payers creates a postcode lottery in services with the most deprived authorities suffering most.”

Local government workers’ union GMB branded the funding announcement a Christmas “kick in the teeth” and condemned the government for delaying the settlement announcement while it “descended into internal infighting and chaos.”

GMB national secretary for public services Rehana Azam also said: “There is no clarity on how local government will be funded after March 2020, leaving local communities with uncertainty about their future. 

“Ministers have no proper plan as to how growing demand for children’s services and social care will be met.”

 

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