December, 3rd 2017
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE SETTLEMENT REACTION
Basildon Council's Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, Cllr Gavin Callaghan, has responded to the provisional local government finance settlement statement made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government today (Tuesday 19 December).
“The challenge we face to protect local services is massive and this response from Government offers nowhere near enough for us to plan with confidence over the coming years," Cllr Callaghan said.
“Yes, we are now able to raise council tax by a further 1% without a referendum, but that would only raise another £160,000 each year and we still face a budget shortfall of more than £6million by 2019/20.
“We still don’t have the longer-term reform that would help this council and that has been promised time and again by the government. Instead, we have more pilots and more consultation, but no action. Essex has even been overlooked again as a pilot area for business rates retention.
“By 2020 Basildon Council will have no revenue support grant from Government at all.
“We need a long-term settlement on fairer funding quickly and we need greater powers to make our own decisions locally about how to fund our services. What we have heard today falls well short of what we need.
“I am working round the clock with officers to ensure we close the remaining budget gap without cutting frontline services.”