Government Shelves Key Announcement On Council Funding Because Of Brexit

Government Shelves Key Announcement On Council Funding Because Of Brexit

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   December 06, 2018  
 
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Government Shelves Key Announcement On Council Funding Because Of Brexit

A major announcement on the amount of funding cash-strapped councils will receive next year has been shelved because of Brexit.

Ministers had been due to set out the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement on Thursday.

But just a day before the much-anticipated announcement, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire revealed local authorities would not be told about their budgets until after parliament’s key vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on December 11.

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Admitting that he had previously vowed to publish the settlement on December 6, Brokenshire said in a written statement that the date was agreed “prior to the scheduling of the meaningful vote”.

Brexit negotiations

“I recognise that my parliamentary colleagues will wish to engage thoroughly in these debates and will also wish to consider the proposed Local Government Finance Settlement for 2019-20,” he wrote.

The announcement will now be made in a written statement in the House of Commons after parliament’s “protected period” for dealing with Brexit, the frontbencher added.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s shadow communities secretary, said the delay was evidence that “Theresa May’s weakness has completely immobilised the government”.

“The Tories are so trapped in a crisis of their own making over their botched Brexit negotiations that they are neglecting the needs of the country,” he said.

“Having delayed the introduction of several key policies, it’s clear that the Prime Minister is in office but not in power.”

The figures agreed in the final settlement will be key for local authorities, according to a Local Government Association (LGA) spokesman, who told HuffPost UK money needed for vital community services is “running out fast”.

By 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p in every £1 the government provided for services in 2010, he said, with the LGA estimating that the funding gap will reach £3.2bn by 2019/20.

Last week, nearly 80 Labour council leaders wrote to Brokenshire to demand a planned cut to Revenue Support Grants for councils worth £1.3bn must be ditched to avoid the “catastrophic collapse” of local authorities.

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