Lambeth council is absorbing the impacts of today’s Government spending review which seem to confirm the local authority’s worst fears on future funding.
Councillor Paul McGlone, Deputy Leader for Finance and Investment, said we’re looking at the details, but there will be serious implications for the delivery of services in Lambeth.
Cllr McGlone said: “We already face cutting our budget by 56 per cent, or £238million, by the end of the decade.
“Following this statement, and no matter how the chancellor tries to spin it, there will simply be even less money available. That is in the face of increasing demand.
“Mr Osborne seems keen to ring fence spending in certain area, but only by using money from another area. It’s just shuffling the deckchairs.”
Mr Osborne said he would phase out the traditional grant to local government over this parliament, but that local government spending, in cash terms, will be the same in 2020 as 2015. This means all councils, including Lambeth, will have less money in real terms.
Councils will be given the power to add two per cent to council tax to go towards the bill for adult social care – a move Mr Osborne said would bring £2bn more into the care system.
But initial analysis indicated in Lambeth that this will raise just £1.8million towards funding an area that costs more than £100million.
Mr Osborne’s spending review will also have a major impact on local authorities provision in education and housing. He said the Government would “make local authorities running schools a thing of the past”.
Councils will be allowed to keep revenue from business rates by the end of the current Parliament.
Cllr McGlone said: “Reform to business rates, the housing benefit cap, any public health funding cuts, education and the right to buy will all have further negative impact on us.
“We’re now going to sit down and go through the detail to see how much deeper the cuts we are already making now will now need to be.”