A United Local Government Writes To The Chancellor Ahead of UK Spring Budget
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Ahead of next week’s Spring Budget, Local Government Associations from across the UK (COSLA, NILGA (Northern Ireland), WLGA (Wales) and LGA (England)) have united to write a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer outlining the real and significant risks facing Councils if additional funding is not provided in the UK Spring Budget on 6th of March.

This is an unprecedented move, as each nation typically lobbies their respective Government for additional funding, however given the shared financial challenges faced by all Local Government it was seen as a necessary step to raise concerns directly with the Chancellor.

Councils have been under increasing pressure over recent years given the escalating demand for services, high inflation rates and an ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Significant investment is required if councils are to continue delivering the same amount of services. A united Local Government are calling for additional funding to prevent against essential services from being cut, an emerging housing crisis and Local Government job losses.

Commenting today (Thursday 29th February), COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Katie Hagmann said:

“The joint letter highlights that all councils across the UK are faced with financial pressures and are making tough decisions to balance budgets. Councils have been making huge efforts over recent years to reduce costs by transforming the way services are delivered, but there is only so much we can do without adequate UK Government investment. This is why we have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer directly, ahead of the UK Spring Budget, to reemphasise the key role of Local Government within our economy and communities. It is vital that we emphasise the precarious position councils are facing.

“Councils are key to addressing the UK Government priorities to support more people into work and address employers’ skills needs. Playing a key role in the development of infrastructure which drives up economic growth is also a priority.

“In Scotland, we employ around 10% of the overall workforce and procure over £6.3bn in goods therefore we are a key economic driver for communities across the country.

Councillor Hagmann continued: “Without further investment, all our communities and the people we represent will be at risk of not receiving the services they deserve and need. Councils are facing unsustainable workforce challenges with recruitment and retention issues impacting on all the services we can provide.

“The current budget, which has insufficient capital funding, will ultimately lead to poorer outcomes for our communities. It will impact on councils' ability to build new schools, build social houses and tackle homelessness, and invest in projects that will support climate change targets.

“COSLA, alongside our Local Government partner association, urge the Chancellor to review the UK Spring Budget to ensure it reflects current pressures and provides sufficient investment to Local Government so we can continue to deliver vital services to our communities.”

Further information

The full joint letter from the four UK Local Government Associations can be found here.