A long-term financial settlement is needed for local government to provide communities with “fairness and stability” during a “defining period” for the country, the new president of the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers has said.
Speaking at the Solace annual dinner on Thursday, Martin Swales called for unity among local government organisations and councils of all types in making the case for an increase in funding.
Mr Swales, who is chief executive of South Tyneside MBC, cited Brexit, this year’s comprehensive spending review and the fair funding review as pivotal to the country’s future.
He said he had been “encouraged by the positive indications from [communities secretary] James Brokenshire”, local government minister Rishi Sunak and the chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss “around their determination to achieve a fair and sustainable settlement for local government”.
Mr Swales also spoke of the “positive discussions” he has had with Melanie Dawes, permanent secretary at the Ministry for Housing, Communites & Local Government about “how Solace can contribute to policy shaping on key future funding issues”.
He added: “We face many acute service demand pressures that play out in national headlines every day. We need a long term cross departmental financial settlement through Her Majesty’s Treasury that allows us to give our communities the fairness and stability they deserve.
“It’s about increasing the size of the cake – only then can we determine how it’s sliced. And we must all channel our energies into making this case.”