Levelling up will not work without sustainable council funding

By Dr Arianna Giovannini | 20 July 2021

Councils’ funding cuts are hitting the headlines again. It’s not a new story. It’s part of a process of incremental disempowerment of local government that has been in place for decades. While many in the sector thought austerity was the apex of the struggle, the pandemic has brought in new, unexpected challenges to councils’ finances. Public spending and demand on local services have exploded. Support from central Government has come in late and is not sufficient to plug the financial hole.

This has put many local authorities in an impossible situation. Many now find it hard to meet their statutory obligations, while non-statutory services have been cut to the bone. Cuts to funding essentially hurt local communities, often leaving the most vulnerable without the support and services they deserve. How is the Government going to level up the country if local authorities are left to wither on the vine?

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