Hackney,
19
January
2024
|
09:05
Europe/London

Government funding ‘wholly inadequate’, council tells ministers

Next year Hackney Council’s funding will remain below 2010 levels after the latest financial allocation from the Government, the Council has told ministers as it called for long-term funding arrangements to protect vital public services.

The Government has allocated Hackney Council a funding increase of just 6% from April 2024, a figure likely to force the Council to increase Council Tax on residents already dealing with a cost-of-living crisis.

With high inflation, increasing costs and growing demand, this will require the Council to make savings to balance next year’s budget at a time when local government funding across London is estimated to be 17% less than what is needed.

In particular, the Council faces:

  • A £25m shortfall in social care grants since 2017, due to the funding being allocated out on the basis of adults’ care needs only whereas it should also take account of children’s care needs. These grants are vital in supporting some of Hackney’s most vulnerable residents
  • An 85% reduction in the ‘services grant’ between 2023-24 and 2024-25
  • No planned extension of the Household Support Fund, which has allowed the Council to help low-income residents struggling to afford their energy bills and fund emergency food support services to the tune of £5.6m in 2023/24 alone.

The Council has highlighted these challenges to the Government, calling for long-term funding arrangements that take into account current and future needs in place of annual funding allocations that put key services at risk from short-term budget changes.

Cllr Robert Chapman, Cabinet member for Finance, Insourcing and Customer Services

After more than a decade of austerity, this wholly inadequate funding allocation puts even greater pressure on council finances, particularly in vital areas like tackling homelessness, providing social care and giving support for those with special educational needs.

But it too highlights the contempt ministers have for local councils by failing to provide long-term, sustainable funding they need to support their communities, instead offering short-term allocations that put local public services at the whim of ministers.

We remain fully committed to maintaining our high-quality services for Hackney residents throughout these challenges, but that will mean making tough decisions on Council Tax rates and where savings can be made.

Cllr Robert Chapman, Cabinet member for Finance, Insourcing and Customer Services