The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that councils will face almost £10bn of cost pressures by 2020, and in order to meet increasing service pressures, such as that imposed by waste and recycling targets, “fairer funding” needs to be allocated.
As part of its detailed submission to the Treasury ahead of the November Spending Review, the LGA has calculated government policies to be implemented over the next five years will cost councils £6.3bn by 2020.
It projects this is on top of the extra £3.6bn of “business as usual” pressures to maintain services at their current level based on demand-led and inflation pressures on local government services.
Included in additional costs that will be incurred but are difficult to quantify, is waste management.
LGA Chairman Cllr Gary Porter – “Leaving councils to pick up the bill for new national policies while being handed further spending reductions cannot be an option”
Currently English local authorities spend £3.8bn a year on waste collection and recycling with a recycling rate of 43 per cent. The long term target that councils are expected to meet by 2020 is 50 percent.
“Doing so will require councils to increase their spending on waste collection and recycling services,” the LGA report states.
The LGA, which speaks for more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is warning the Chancellor that failing to fully consider these unfunded cost burdens in the Spending Review could result in important local services being scaled back or lost altogether.
Waste collection. Currently English local authorities spend £3.8bn a year on waste collection and recycling with a recycling rate of 43 per cent. The long term target that councils are expected to meet by 2020 is 50 percent. Doing so will require councils to increase their spending on waste collection and recycling services.
The Spending Review must be about “spending smarter, not only about spending less” in order to balance the nation’s books while improving public services and local economies, the LGA said.
LGA Chairman Cllr Gary Porter said: “November’s Spending Review will be critical for the future of our public services over the next decade. Our new analysis shows the significant spending pressures facing councils over the next few years even before the possibility of further funding reductions.
“Leaving councils to pick up the bill for new national policies while being handed further spending reductions cannot be an option.
“Enormous pressure will be heaped on already stretched local services if the Government fails to fully assess the impact of these unfunded cost burdens when making its spending decisions for the next five years. Vital services, such as caring for the elderly, protecting children, collecting bins, filling potholes and maintaining our parks and green spaces, will simply struggle to continue at current levels.
“We need the decisions in the Spending Review to be guided by the fundamental principle that local people will know best how to spend money on services in their area.
“If our public services are to survive the next five years, councils need fairer funding and the freedom to pay for them. Only radical reform of the way public money is spent and widespread devolution of transport, housing, skills and health and social care across England in the Spending Review can protect the services which bind our communities together and protect our most vulnerable.”