LGA: Council services could disappear by 2020
Councils are faced with rising costs for statutory services such as care, social services and waste collection will increasingly absorb resources.
A new LGA report shows that unless urgent reform is introduced, a £16.5 billion funding shortfall will exist between the amount of money available to councils to provide services and the predicted cost of maintaining them at current levels. The 28% in the amount of money councils receive from central government between 2010/11 and 2014/15 has contributed considerably to this situation.
Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA chairman, said:
"By the end of the decade councils may be forced to wind down some of the most popular services they provide unless urgent action is taken to address the crisis in adult social care funding.
"Efficiency savings won't go close to solving this problem. We need an immediate injection of money into the adult care system to meet rising demand in the short term, alongside a major revision of the way it is paid for and delivered in future. Local government is best placed to ensure care is provided in a way which offers dignity to the individual and value for money for the taxpayer. It has to be in a position to do that while also delivering the other services local people expect.
"The growing demand for aged care and the considerable reduction to the amount of funding councils receive from government puts us in this position but the issue goes beyond our aging population and the austerity agenda and hits right at the heart of the future of public services. In Community Budgets we have already seen how a locally coordinated, cross sector approach to troubled families has reduced costs and successfully tackled issues like truancy and anti-social behaviour. It's time to explore how that approach might be replicated elsewhere.
"The lines on the charts in this report are the converging train tracks that will carry the most immediate and popular public services into history unless the passengers – government, councils and the voters – draw a new map for organising and funding local public service, and draw it now."
The key findings of the report reveal:
•The rising cost of providing social care and waste services means that the money available to deliver all other services falls from £24.5 billion in 2010/11 to £8.4 billion in 2019/20.
•The gap between the money available for providing services and the predicted cost of maintaining them at current levels starts at £1.4 billion in 2012/13 and widens every year to reach £16.5 billion in 2019/20.
•Spending on care will pass 45 per cent of council budgets by 2019/20.
The LGA's three-day conference begins today in Birmingham.