Received from: Unison
Congress notes that local government has borne the brunt of the government’s public sector austerity agenda since 2010. The National Audit Office has reported a 49 per cent real-terms reduction in government funding for English local authorities 2010–2011, and 2017– 2018. UNISON research reveals at least a 25 per cent drop in employment too. Similar cuts have occurred in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland due to austerity, the Barnett Formula consequentials and decisions of the respective devolved governments.
Increased demand for council services due to the wider impacts of austerity has left councils at breaking point. The Local Government Association estimates a funding gap of £1.5bn in social care, a sector that is in crisis. The example of Northamptonshire, which has been forced to call in commissioners and cut many vital services and jobs, is likely to be the tip of the iceberg.
Congress believes that local government needs far more resources in order to
do its vital work supporting people from cradle to grave, and providing support
to society’s most vulnerable people, through youth services, homecare, libraries, housing, schools and other services. The government must commit far more funding to councils through the Spending Review and Fair Funding Review, and it must take serious account of deprivation when deciding how to distribute resources to councils.
Congress calls on the General Council to launch a high profile campaign, calling on the government to reverse the local government funding cuts and provide councils and devolved governments with the resources to invest in local, democratically controlled, publicly provided services.
- In paragraph 3, after the first sentence ending “services”, insert new second sentence:
“More resources are also vital to ensure councils can continue to invest in cultural services, from theatres to festivals, that support local jobs and economic development and help to make areas interesting and vibrant places to live and work.”