Whatever decisions are made about the distribution of funding, what is essential is that the overall amount of funding for local government must be increased so that councils across the country are fully resourced to serve their communities.
However, decisions about how to share out available funding are crucial and must be rooted in solid evidence of the issues that genuinely increase pressure on council services. In the long run, nobody wins if the new formula is not responsive to drivers of demand.
We have long argued for deprivation to be given due prominence in the new formula and feel strongly that it should be a factor in the foundation formula given that deprived areas need more council support across the board. The implication of the government’s proposals – that the cost of supporting homeless families is not related to deprivation – seems to fly in the face of common sense.
It’s good that the formula will include population projections, as population growth is linked to pressures on services, but we’re concerned that the projections chosen may not be robust enough.
While we welcome the inclusion of an area cost adjustment, the proposal to include factors such as remoteness appears not to be based on real evidence of impact on council costs.
Above all, government must invest in local public services – and allow us to do so – to make sure that we can all provide the vital support and protection our communities need.
Peter John (Lab), chair London Councils, leader Southwark LBC
'Deprivation must be given due prominence in the fair funding formula'