The Funding Settlement for Local Authorities approved by the Government sees a continuation of cuts to Councils across England, with Bradford Council set to lose funding as 80% of local authorities fear for their financial survival.

The annual Local Government Finance Settlement for 2018-19 published by the Government sets out the level of Central Government grants and the distribution of business rates revenues to Councils across England. The latest settlement will see core funding further reduced by half over the next two years and almost phased out completely by the end of the decade, leaving the only additional funding available being that which Councils can raise locally.

As a result of Government cuts to Local Government, Councils are expected to face an overall funding gap that will exceed £5 billion by 2020 according to the Local Government Finance Association, putting even greater pressure on Councils and leaving them with even less funding to run basic but vital services such as libraries and leisure centres. Cuts have also already pushed one Council to the edge, with Northamptonshire County Council forced to effectively declare bankruptcy with concerns that others will follow.

The Government’s decision to force Councils to be self-funding through raising business rates has also been criticised by Mr Hussain who has previously raised concerns that many local authorities such as those in Bradford cannot do so, and are the victims of the Governments’ failure to reform the business rates system that sees large out-of-town warehouses for multi-national corporations pay less in business rates than a high street store.

Whilst Bradford Council have been named by an Impower study as being in the top 10 of productive councils in the UK, there are limits as to how low Councils are able to go with budget reductions due the range of services that they are legally required to provide, and as a result of £256 million in cuts since 2010, Bradford Council in 2020 will be half the size it was in 2010.

Speaking on the Local Government Finance Settlement, Imran said:

“Bradford Council and other local authorities which serve deprived areas simply cannot take anymore and the fact is these Government cuts are pushing Bradford Council to the brink, with a reduction in their funding allocation between 2015 and 2020 that forces them to reduce services against their will.

“There is a sheer unfair and ideological nature to these cuts which hit some of the councils that have the greatest need the hardest. It defies all logic to hit the top 10 most deprived councils in England with cuts higher than the national average, and it is time that the Government end this ideological crusade and help local councils who are providing services day-to-day that we all rely on.

“Plans for future funding arrangements have been extremely ill-thought out, with the Government expecting Councils to fund themselves by keeping more of their business rates, but at the same time preventing them from growing their business rates base by cutting the funding that allows them to grow their local economies.

“There is also no certainty of what will happen after 2020, with the Government failing to set out with clarity how Local Government will be funded after the four-year funding deal runs out, and it just shows how little this Government cares for and respects Local Government serving local people.”

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