LGiU publishes State of Local Government report
The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) has published its State of Local Government Finance report.
The report is based on information provided by senior figures from around half of all English Councils.
According to LGiU, this year’s findings tell a story of local government battling with the consequences of years of under-investment and neglect but continuing to be ambitious and innovative on behalf of their residents and places.
Key findings included:
- Nearly all councils (97%) plan to increase council tax in 2020/21 to make ends meets, with most (93%) planning to raise it by more than 1.5%. Despite the increase, one in ten councils (12%) believe there is a danger they will be unable to fulfil their statutory duties.
- As they face another year of financial uncertainty and continue to await the outcome of the Fair Funding Review, nearly all councils (97%) plan to increase fees and charges, with some being forced to raise them ‘by the maximum possible amount’ (14%). Nearly a quarter of councils (23%) believe these financial plans will lead to cuts that are noticed by the public.
- For 2020/21, children’s services and education was named as the top immediate pressure for council finances (36%), followed by adult social care (24%) and housing and homelessness (18%). Adult social care was named as the top long-term pressure for council finances (37%), followed by children’s services (21%) and housing and homelessness (15%).
- Councils are still struggling financially after years of public sector cuts and ongoing uncertainty about the future of the local government funding system. Only 3 per cent of councils are happy with the Government’s progress on local finances and only 20% of councils are confident this will be prioritised going forward.