Published Tuesday 19 December 2023 at 15:07
On Monday 18 December, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published the latest Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement.
Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
The settlement is broadly in line with what we were expecting after the Government’s recent policy statement. It is disappointing but not unexpected that once again, the figures are only for a year ahead with no indication of what the funding picture will be after that.
But while we welcome the overall increase, including some additional funding for adult social care, the public services that our residents want and need are still struggling with the impact of years of government-driven austerity. Demand is massive and growing, costs have risen, inflation is still higher than it should be and these factors result in pressure on all of our council services.
As last year, the Government is assuming Councils will raise Council tax by the full allowed amount as a way of solving the crisis in adult social care. This crisis has been developing for years and in my view needs a national government-led solution but, instead, the government is expecting our residents to pay additional money to prevent this social care crisis from getting worse.
Thankfully, our strategy of growing the Borough’s economy continues to pay dividends and with the prospect of the County Combined Authority, which will see more powers and resources devolved from Westminster to Lancashire, there is the potential for significant investment in Blackburn with Darwen that will undoubtedly have a positive impact for our residents.
Councillor Vicky McGurk, Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said:
As a Council we remain fully committed to delivering our core missions including economic growth, providing young people with the best start in life and taking real action to deal with climate change. But we need our fair share of resources to do that.
Of course we welcome an increase in funding but since that isn’t enough to make up for many years of funding reductions, the Council will still be faced with tough decisions.
We will now take time to work through the full implications of the provisional Settlement for the Council and its services.