Local Government Funding

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:31 pm on 28th March 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 5:31 pm, 28th March 2018

As the National Audit Office pointed out, this Government were alert to the requirements of adult social care building as a pressure. This Government responded by delivering extra money for adult social care.

In general, what this Government are doing is working. In adult social care, we have seen delayed transfers of care fall by 34% in the past year. In housing, we are seeing record levels of new home building and infrastructure investment, and from Teesside to the west country, we are seeing areas seize the opportunity to shape their own future. My hon. Friend Paul Scully was absolutely right when he said that other people may paint a gloomy, downbeat picture, but there are examples of councils delivering for their constituents across the country, and as he pointed out, Kingston is doing a fantastic job.

Indeed, according to the LGA, over 80% of people are satisfied with their local area as a place to live, and satisfaction with local council services has remained entirely stable. To ensure that that continues, it is right that we update and modernise our current funding formulas. In the short term, I want to reassure Maria Eagle that the Government are not clawing back section 31 grants, as she suggested might be the case. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State confirmed that last week.

My hon. Friends the Members for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) and for North East Hampshire (Mr Jayawardena) rightly asked about negative RSG. The Government are aware of the strength of feeling on that issue. We are planning to look at fair and affordable options for addressing that problem and will consult on it shortly after the local elections.

My hon. Friends the Members for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) and for Lewes (Maria Caulfield) spoke passionately about the rural areas they represent. They highlighted the historical unfairness in funding that their councils have suffered and why they think that should be addressed. I can confirm to them that understanding the particular costs of delivering services in rural areas and analysing the relative resources they have will absolutely be considered as part of our fair funding review.

My hon. Friend Huw Merriman spoke about the importance of getting population growth right. Areas such as his have seen increases in the number of those of a particular age, which puts costs on to certain service areas. He is right to highlight that the new funding formula should use up-to-date population information and that it should be dynamic and respond to what is happening on the ground.

We have heard about children’s services, and it is absolutely right that we focus attention on vulnerable young people who are denied the stability that many of us sitting in the Chamber have enjoyed. It is a privilege for me to be the Minister responsible for the troubled families programme. Delivered in partnership with local authorities, the programme will invest £1 billion to help the most vulnerable in our society. I spent a morning last week in Liverpool hearing at first hand from the families themselves about the difference that this programme is making to their lives. Conservatives like to measure success by the outcomes we achieve, not just the amount of other people’s money that we spend, and the results are hugely encouraging.