Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:16 pm on 17th December 2020.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 1:16 pm, 17th December 2020

My hon. Friend makes an important point, and I share his desire to have a multi-year settlement for local government. Obviously, this year has proved a unique one, in which the kaleidoscope has been shaken in many respects and will take time to settle. I hope that when we come to do the settlement next year it will indeed be a multi-year one. I believe that that is the expectation of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, but he will no doubt give confirmation in due course, as we see how 2021 turns out.

On local councils in tier 3, we are providing further funding for both councils themselves and their local business community, on a month-by-month basis, if they are in tier 2 or tier 3. The purpose of today’s settlement, in looking ahead to the likely covid expenditure that councils will face next year, is to ensure that both in respect of the month-by-month costs that councils are incurring, which have been about £500 million a month, and the losses they are incurring in sales, fees and charges, they at least have forward guidance to the middle point of the next calendar year. Of course we all hope that by Easter, and certainly by the summer, the position in the country and within councils will be dramatically different.