Let's see what happens on longer-term funding

By Lorna Baxter | 31 March 2021
  • Lorna Baxter

In my last column I wrote about my concerns over the post-pandemic cost pressures and longer-term funding for local government. The 2021 Budget did nothing to allay those fears and the preceding COVID-19 response document published in February states the Government has a responsibility, once the economy recovers, to return to a sustainable financial position. This does not bode well for local government.

The National Audit Office (NAO) report on local government finance in the pandemic highlights that the 2021-22 finance settlement was only designed to provide certainty on a short-term, time-limited basis, rather than seeking to support the sector’s recovery over the medium-term. It also makes reference that the settlement did not attempt to re-engage with the stalled local government finance reform programme.

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