Bassetlaw Council leader frustrated at 'below inflation' funding increase from the Government

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Basseltaw Council is to receive a 4.5 per cent increase in local government funding next year.

But the Labour-controlled authority’s leader says this is a ‘below inflation’ increase that again limits the council’s ability to plan ahead.

Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, published the provisional local government finance settlement (LGFS) for 2024-25 on December 18.

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But the Local Government Association (LGA), which is the national voice of local government, has warned that the settlement ‘does not provide enough funding to meet the severe cost and demand pressures which have left councils of all political colours and types warning of the serious challenges they face to set balanced budgets next year’.

Coun James Naish says the 'below inflation' funding settlement from the Government will restrict long-term planningCoun James Naish says the 'below inflation' funding settlement from the Government will restrict long-term planning
Coun James Naish says the 'below inflation' funding settlement from the Government will restrict long-term planning

Collectively, councils in England are estimated to face a funding gap of £4 billion over the next two years.

Coun James Naish (Lab), Bassetlaw Council leader, said: “While our finances remain in a relatively stable position, we aren’t shielded from the pressures being experienced by so many councils across the country.

"It is frustrating that with inflation stubbornly remaining above the Bank of England’s target, the Government hasn’t provided any meaningful new funding to help councils seeking to provide important front-line services.

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"This is especially true of councils like Bassetlaw, which will receive a lower spending power increase than other councils as it won’t receive any additional income through the adult social care precept.”

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The LGA has historically argued that council tax rises cannot be an effective solution to the long-term pressures faced by councils, particularly in social care.

Increasing council tax raises different amounts of money in different parts of the country, unrelated to need.

The data suggests that Bassetlaw’s core spending power in 2024-25 will increase by 4.5 per cent which was below October’s CPI inflation figure of 4.6 per cent.

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It ranks Bassetlaw 327th out of the 349 local authorities based on percentage increases to its core spending power versus 2023-24 levels.

Based on a band D property in Bassetlaw in 2023-24, only 8.38 per cent of the council tax bill goes to the council.

The rest goes to Nottinghamshire Council (64.46 per cent), the police (11.62 per cent), adult social care (9.92 per cent, also the councty council), the fire service (3.87 per cent) and parish councils (1.75 per cent).

Mr Gove said the ‘real-terms increase demonstrates how the Government stands behind councils up and down the country’.

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But the County Councils Network (CCN) said its members would be ‘“bitterly disappointed’, with finance spokesperson Coun Barry Lewis saying the CCN ‘had put together a strong case for emergency funding next year to address the significant financial headwinds councils face which are outside of our control’.

Coun Naish continued: “Once again, we are faced with a one-year settlement for local government, the sixth in a row.

"This limits our ability to plan ahead and creates a culture of councils needing to maximise increases while they are on the table, not knowing what the LGFS will be the following year.

Along with councils of all political colours, we call on the next Government to change the short-term approach to local government funding so councils can effectively forward plan to maximise spending returns while keeping any cost increases as low as possible for local residents and businesses”.

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