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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I will touch on that report later in my speech, but it highlights the impact of 10 years of cuts to our local councils and public services at a time of rising demand, particularly for adult social care and children’s services—the expensive people-based services. Given that the councils with greatest social need and the worst health inequalities have a limited tax base to make up for any financial losses, the problem is that the so-called fair funding formula could be what tips them over the edge.
I know that the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, will stand up and pronounce that the finance settlement that we are set to agree next Wednesday shows that he is investing in local services, but he is a lone voice in saying so. That shows just how detached the Government are from the sector that they are here supposedly to represent, because the truth is that since 2015—just five years—local government funding across England has fallen by 32%.