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SIGOMA vice-chair warns about further cuts to local government

Posted on April 26, 2024

Councillor Graham Chapman, vice-chairman of SIGOMA, the group of councils which represents urban areas in northern England, the Midlands and south coast, said the axe was likely to fall on adult and children’s social care, which for some authorities makes up 70 per cent of budgets.

Councillor Chapman, a Labour councillor in Nottingham, told i that the defence spending increase would mean council finance chiefs have “nowhere else to go” as they tried to balance the books.

Several councils in England have already declared technical bankruptcy – using section 114 notices – due to funding squeezes, but Councillor Chapman warned the defence uplift would mean more town halls following suit.

He described Mr Sunak’s announcement as “half-baked” but added: “If there were any substance to it, then we are already planning for a 4 per cent reduction in local government funding, a real terms reduction of 4 per cent, over the next four years.

“This is just going to add more agony to that. What they need to understand is that the services most vulnerable to cuts are where all the pressure is – adult social care and children in care. That already accounts for 70 per cent of local government spend.

“We cannot stop repairing roads or collecting waste. It will be children and the elderly paying for this.

“It is inevitable that more councils’ budgets will be put under pressure.

“Even if they declare a section 114, councils still have to provide services. Any further budget cuts will mean councils are pared to the bone.”

Read the full article here.