Local Authority Funding: Essex

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – in the House of Commons at on 4 December 2023.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

What funding he plans to provide to local authorities in Essex in the 2024-25 financial year.

Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government will bring forward our proposals for the 2024-25 local government finance settlement in the usual way, towards the end of the calendar year, but I pledge that it will be before the House rises. We will set out our proposals for the 2024-25 financial year and then invite views in our formal consultation.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

I welcome the Minister to his new responsibilities. He may know—he definitely will now—that Braintree District Council, Colchester City Council, Maldon District Council and Essex County Council provide essential statutory services to my Witham constituents and many more. The costs of statutory services such as adult social care and care for children are rising. I suspect that he will give a nuanced answer, but can he give any indication of how the local government finance settlement will support those local authorities in delivering those vital statutory services?

Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

I have never given a nuanced answer in my life and I do not intend to start doing so now. I thank all the councils my right hon. Friend mentioned for the work they do in delivering services for their communities. Local government has seen a real-terms increase in core spending power over the period 2019-20 to 2023-24. I know she knows that, but I assure her and the House that we recognise and understand the pressures on local government. We will look in the round at sector spending when finalising the budget at the upcoming settlement, as we do every year, but I shall certainly bear at the forefront of my mind the representations that she has made.