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Wednesday 19th December 2012 | 14:59
SOLACE press release
On 19th December the Government announced the Local Government Financial Settlement. This is a statement from Joanna Killian, Chair of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE) in response to the announcement.
“Today’s local government settlement confirms that local government will continue to bear the brunt of public sector cuts. The cut of up to 8.8% provides no comfort for the next twelve months and when added to further cuts in 2014/15 will present significant challenges at a time when local government should be focused on economic growth. This settlement is late and the uncertainty and speculation has only made a critical situation worse.
"Budget constraints measured in the billions, particularly at a time of rising demand, will require strategic, not tactical, solutions. Greater powers for local government to impact economic growth, to integrate and share across public services and greater recognition of the impact of welfare changes on local services would also help to support councils minimise the impact on the vulnerable through these challenging times.
"Nevertheless this settlement will increase the risk of more councils being financially unviable and focus needs to be given to how this market failure is managed. Very difficult local choices will now need to be made and local government should have the freedom to make these choices, even when setting council tax. Solutions will need local government to be innovative and to continue our relentless pursuit of value for money.
"The Prime Minister recognises that local government is the most efficient part of the public sector. This will only continue with the advice and support of the very best in public service. They will need support and clear strategic leadership has become even more important.”