on government to find significant new money for this year's spending review
as part of its final SR2002 lobbying campaign push. The organisation has
voiced its concerns that in addition to the need for an increase in revenue
also needed for the modernisation and renewal of public services, to address
current shortfalls and to deliver the government's ambitious public service
reform and improvement agenda.
The LGA will be briefing senior advisors and ministers as part of its
continued fight to ensure that despite the recent cabinet reshuffle, certain
key areas are guaranteed the highest priority including education, social
services, transport, and crime, while reinforcing the urgent need for more
funding across the board.
Local authorities hold responsibility for finance and delivery of education,
police, transport, fire, the environment, protective and cultural services,
all of which require significant new money in order to deliver at current
levels let alone deliver measurable improvements. And although March's
budget announcement of an additional£360m a year for personal social
services was a welcome sign that the government is listening to the LGA's
arguments, an estimated£280m was imposed on local authorities by the NI tax
Jeremy Beecham, chair of the LGA said:
'The LGA will be tackling government on these and other key issues over the
next few weeks in the hope that a shared policy agenda will be matched by
the financial muscle needed by local authorities to deliver and sustain
Key priority areas include:
Transport - currently under-funded by at least£600m and in steep
decline - is an area where at least a generation of under-investment has
left the system crippled and a local road network in its worst condition
since records began nearly 30 years ago. One key area of public transport in
need of urgent investment is the national bus network.
It is estimated that by the end of the last financial year:
* Around 29 per cent of local councils will have made cuts to
supported bus services in order to stay within budget.
* Almost 1.5 million commercial bus journeys (almost half as
many again as reported in 2000) will not run in the next year because they
were de-registered and authorities did not have the funds to replace them.
Education - there is also a compelling case for continued and significant
investment in education in order to meet the government's pledges with an
estimated£8bn in revenue spending needed to urgently tackle a range
of issues including the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.
*£1.2bn to meet the government's pledge to provide
additional teachers and support staff and reduce class sizes.
Crime - prevention and modernisation of the police service is a priority
for both local and national government. However, if the local governmentis
going to deliver the reform and modernisation that the service needs then
the current gap in funding must be plugged. At present, the gap between the
government's assessment of the police service's need to spend and actual
expenditure stands at£445m and is set to widen.
*£986m is required to enhance operational capability
Social Services - three of the LGA's six commitments for local communities
will be delivered through Personal Social Services - supporting children and
their families, helping older people live independent lives and helping the
hardest to reach into work. The pressure experienced in social services
currently manifests itself in both financial and human resources despite the
recent annual increase of 6 per cent. However additional resources will
still need to be found in order to meet the shortfall between the needs
identified by the LGA and the resources provided. Some of the pressures
identified in the LGA submission include:
* Rising numbers of children in care coupled with an increase
in needs of disabled children requires£330m
* 'Winter pressures' - authorities cannot respond to hospital
discharges through lack of funding - requires£400m
* Inflationary increases are estimated to total just over£1bn it is essential therefore that provision be made within the
settlement for funding pay costs for 2003-2006.
Environment - one of the LGA's key corporate priorities concerns the notion
of liveability which encompasses all the factors that makes somewhere a
pleasant place to live and work. Further resources are essential to ensure
that local government is able to take a lead role in delivering increased or
new services in areas such as waste disposal, recycling, climate change, and
*£1.3bn is required for waste management and recycling
*£250m is needed to tackle climate change and energy
*£133m to manage coast and flood protection effectively
Copies of the LGA briefing factsheets can be found at www.lga.gov.uk