Support for Local Government

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th March 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Conservative, Charnwood 12:00 am, 12th March 2018

What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department’s support for local government.

Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The 2018-19 settlement sees a real-terms increase in resources for local government over the next two years, increasing from £44.3 billion to £45.6 billion.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Conservative, Charnwood

My hon. Friend will be aware that under Governments of both parties, Leicestershire has had one of the lowest per head of population funding settlements in the country. Will he ensure that as the new funding system is consulted on and brought in, it addresses this issue and provides fair funding for Leicestershire, alongside his Department continuing to support our councils in driving further efficiencies and service improvements?

Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

In particular for Leicestershire but for all councils, there could be no better champion than my hon. Friend of fairer funding for the many councils, not the few. This evidence-based review will provide an opportunity for more accurate funding allocations for Leicestershire and other councils.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Co-National Campaign Coordinator, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

On 4 December, the Secretary of State told the House that

“the local government finance settlement is coming along shortly, and he can look to see what happens with that.”—[Official Report, 4 December 2017;
Vol. 632, c. 684.]

Apart from our finding out that the Secretary of State is bad at maths and does not know what is happening in his Department, the settlement came and went with no help for children’s services. Since then, Tory Northamptonshire Council has effectively gone bust, citing children’s services as one of the main cost pressures, and only last week the National Audit Office published a damning report showing the worst crisis in the local government sector’s 170-year history. That is happening on these Ministers’ watch. With the spring statement tomorrow, what will the Minister do to ensure that our children’s services get the £2 billion that even the Tory-controlled Local Government Association says they so desperately need?

Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

We have increased funding in real terms, which I am sure the hon. Gentleman’s constituents, like mine, will welcome. With the fairer funding review coming up, rather than trying to score political points across the Chamber, why does he not get involved with it so that local authorities can concentrate on delivery?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Conservative, Hornchurch and Upminster

Can my hon. Friend provide assurances that the rapidly increasing demographic pressures on outer London boroughs will be fully considered as part of the fairer funding review?

Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I can absolutely provide that assurance to my hon. Friend. Demographic change will be at the heart of the fairer funding review.