The Chancellor must reverse the decade-long cuts and hand greater control over taxes to local authorities in the Autumn Spending Review on Wednesday, a senior Green councillor has urged.
Ahead of Rishi Sunak’s announcement today, the Greens have highlighted how the centralisation of power and funding has hampered the country’s response to the coronavirus and climate crises.
Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of York Council and leader of the Green group, said:
“The pandemic has shown that it is local councils who are making the big decisions that impact the lives of our community
“From test and trace services, to providing food and personal protective equipment (PPE), councils have risen to the challenge where national government policy, and outsourcing to private contractors, have clearly failed.
“Despite this, years of cuts to public services have now left many councils on the brink. Councils have lost one in two pounds in real-terms since relentless Conservative government cuts began in 2010.
“From adult social care to children’s services, libraries and public health, the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined that for many these services are a lifeline. It’s also at a local level that real change is happening on critical issues like the climate emergency and the crisis in housing and homelessness.
“With proper funding, councils like York can continue to lead the way, but their cuts will hold our communities back.
Local authorities have seen a reduction in core funding of almost £16 billion over the last decade. It has now been estimated that councils face a £2bn gap between the funding provided and the pressures faced as a result of Covid.
At the same time, local authorities in England have extremely limited power to raise revenue compared to other countries. In 2014 every other G7 national collected more taxes at either a local or regional level.