Parliament this week (Wednesday 7 February 2018) approved the funding settlement for English local authorities that will see a real terms increase in available resources over the next two years and give them access to over £200 billion from 2015 to 2020 to deliver the high-quality services their local communities need.
The settlement gives councils additional financial freedoms to deliver services for their most vulnerable residents while protecting council tax payers from excessive increases in their bills.
For the coming financial year (2018/2019), Milton Keynes will have Core Spending Power of £180.4 million, an increase of £1.5 million.
The Communities Secretary has announced the extra funding to help local authorities meet the needs of vulnerable people and support services in rural areas.
Following representations from local Members of Parliament on the provisional funding plans announced in December, a further £150 million will be available to those councils providing Adult Social Care.
In addition, £16 million will be made available to councils providing services in rural areas, taking the total Rural Services Grant to £81 million - the highest it has ever been and a recognition of the cost of providing local services in sparsely populated areas. For Milton Keynes, this additional funding amounts to £600k
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid said, “Parliament has today (7th Feb) approved a settlement that strikes a balance between relieving growing pressure on local government whilst ensuring that hard-pressed taxpayers do not face excessive bills. We have listened to representations made and delivered on these requests: two years of real terms increases in resources, more freedom and fairness, and greater certainty to plan and secure value for money.”
Both Iain and I welcome the settlement and we know Milton Keynes Council, like all other areas of the public sector have had to make tough decisions in recent years, but this additional funding will help invest in local priorities. The Labour Council are for the fourth year in a row planning to raise Council tax by the maximum possible, with the additional funding settlement residents will be watching to ensure it’s put into improving local services, not wasted.
Government has also launched a review of local authorities’ needs and resources to enable a new funding system to be devised. Ministers are encouraging local authorities to respond to the consultation ahead of the deadline on 12 March 2018.