Measures set out in the draft local government finance statement will mean a small rise in spending power for local authorities with social services responsibilities, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
DCLG said local authorities with social services responsibilities will see an aggregate increase in spending power of £640m (1.7%) in 2018-19, with a rise of £597m (1.5%) in 2019-20 with all the measures set out in the statement.
In the draft local government finance statement published this week, communities secretary Sajid Javid said that councils will be able to raise council tax by up to 6% without triggering a local referendum on the increase. This is an increase from 5% last year, and 3% remains ringfenced for adult social care.
Javid said: “This change, combined with the additional flexibility on the adult social care precept that I confirmed last year gives local authorities the independence they need to help relieve pressure on local services such as adults and children’s services, while also recognising that many households face their own pressures.”
Core spending power, when all sources of funding are taken into account is said to be growing by 1.5% in 2018-19, to £44.9bn, with a further 1.5% rise to £45.6bn in 2019-20.
Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “With no other national tax subject to referenda, the council tax referendum limit needs to be abolished so councils and their communities can decide how under-pressure local services are paid for, with residents able to democratically hold their council to account through the ballot box.
“Local government faces an overall funding gap of £5.8 billion by 2020. Children’s services, adult social care and homelessness services are at a tipping point as a result of funding gaps and rising demand and increasingly little is left to fund other services, like cleaning streets, running leisure centres and libraries, and fixing potholes.”