Councils ‘should be at front of funding queue’

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

Securing the financial sustainability of councils and vital local services must be the top priority for the new government, the boss of local government in England will say today.

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, will use his keynote address to the LGA’s Annual Conference in Birmingham today to demand that councils are at the “front of the queue” for new funding if “austerity is coming to an end”.

The speech comes as councils face growing financial pressures and uncertainty.

By 2020, local government in England will have lost 75 pence out of every £1 of core central government funding that it had to spend in 2015 on services like collecting bins, filling potholes, protecting children and caring for elderly and disabled people.

Wigan is better placed than some local authorities but has still faces tough times.

Its council deputy chief executive Paul McKevitt said: “Since 2010 the council has received the biggest budget reduction in its history - the third worst reduction for any local authority according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

“By 2020 we will have saved more than £160m from the council’s budget compared to 10 years ago.

“We have achieved these savings through working with our residents and transforming the way the council operates through The Deal. We need residents to continue playing their part through doing things like recycling and accessing services digitally in order to help save £45m in the next three years.”