Published Wednesday 21 December 2022 at 9:25
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published the latest Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement.
Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
The settlement is in line with what we were expecting after the Government’s recent policy statement. The figures are for a year with broader policy principles for two years which provides some limited assistance towards planning for the future.
But while we welcome the overall increase, including additional funding for adult social care, the public services that our residents want and need are still struggling with the impact of ten years of government-driven austerity. Demand is massive and growing, costs are rising, inflation is at its highest level for nearly 40 years and these factors result in pressure on all of our council services.
It’s important to recognise that the Government is asking Councils to raise Council tax by the full allowed amount as a means to help solve the crisis in adult social care. This crisis has been developing for years and needs a national government-led solution but, instead, the government are expecting our residents to pay additional money to prevent this social care crisis from getting worse. Given the other financial demands on our residents in terms of the cost of living crisis, we will have to consider this new demand in the context of the impact on them as well as the council’s financial position.
Key to our future plans is our growth strategy and a vital part of that is being able to progress with the Levelling Up bids we have submitted to Government. The latest delay to announcing allocations to 2023 is not ideal and I am calling on them to find a speedy resolution.
Councillor Vicky McGurk, Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said:
Of course we welcome an increase in funding but the council is still facing tough decisions due to continuing challenging economic circumstances and the economic outlook remains bleak which means that we will still have to take difficult decisions to meet budget gaps.
As a council though we remain fully committed to delivering our core missions including around growth, young people and climate change.
We will now take time to work through the full implications for the Council and its services.