Only fundamental reform can empower local leaders, the net zero group UK100 has said in response to the Levelling up committee’s report on local authority funding.
The UK’s cross-party network for ambitious local climate action warned that short-term fixes will not resolve the financial distress threatening to derail councils’ efforts to cut emissions.
In a damning report on funding failures, the influential committee of MPs highlighted a £4bn funding gap and concluded the next government faces major reform of local authority funding to ensure financial stability.
Responding to the report, UK100 Chief Executive Christopher Hammond said: “This report by the committee won’t shock anybody. Yet it serves as another damning account of the way councils have been pushed to the brink with piecemeal funding settlements, rising demand and substantial economic changes.
“The mounting overdraft of failure condemns local leaders to manage decline in overstretched services, preventing all but the most ambitious and most well-resourced from accelerating action to achieve the UK’s climate goals
“A root-and-branch funding overhaul is long overdue and the only real solution to stop the downward slope to seeing council after council issuing effective bankruptcy notices. The Government needs to ramp-up its move away from competitive funding pots with strings attached to long-term settlements that empower rather than curtail ambition.”
With a General Election on the horizon, UK100 is urging that political parties of all positions commit to funding reform as a matter of urgency.
Hammond added: “As we’ve seen in recent weeks, from the councils issuing Section 114 notices to the MPs fighting for a stronger financial settlement, local government funding is an issue that transcends partisan politics. We urge parties of all stripes to work together with local leaders to reform a failed system. With the right resources and responsibilities, every corner of the country has the chance to prosper,” Hammond adds.
Image of Christopher Hammond courtesy of UK100