SIGOMA chair responds to Final Settlement and Public Health allocations
Posted on February 06, 2024
Responding to the final local government finance settlement, Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, Chair of the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities (SIGOMA), said:
While it is welcome to see the additional £600m of funding within the final settlement allocations, this extra funding is not sufficient to prevent councils from being forced to make further cuts, or provide local government with long-term stability.
The financial viability of the sector is at risk, and many of the pressures councils face will have worsened by the time of the next settlement. Council finances have been pushed to the brink - more funding will be required within the next financial year to stop more councils from issuing section 114 notices, while many of our members will be forced to make impossible decisions about the vital local services they provide.
As recognised in the recent report from the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee, it is critical that the Government tackles the £4bn funding gap for local government, and delivers serious reforms to fix the broken local government finance model.
Public Health Grant final allocations
It is welcome that the increase in funding is greater than the provisional allocations, however considering inflationary pressures, especially on pay, this will likely be another real terms cut for public health funding. Public health teams carry out essential preventative work that improves lives, and saves money in many other areas, including for the National Health Service. The Government should properly recognise the vital work of public health teams and deliver a serious real terms uplift in funding, as well as providing certainty through multi-year allocations.
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