Local Government Funding

Local government is the front line of our country's democracy, and local authorities deserve the resources they need to do their job in delivering truly world-class public services. That is why I welcomed the recent Local Government Finance Settlement, which provides two years of real terms increases in resources available to local authorities across England.

The recent settlement for the 2018-19 financial year is the third year of a four year offer which was accepted by 97 per cent of councils in return for publishing efficiency plans. For 2018-19, core spending power for local authorities across England will total £45.1 billion, up from £44.3 billion in 2017-18. I welcome that core spending power for English local authorities will increase again in the next financial year, up to £45.6 billion.

The latest settlement has again prevented local authorities from introducing excessive increases in council tax without first securing the backing of local residents in a referendum. Since being introduced in 2012, referendum principles have helped keep council tax down, with average council tax in England for the current 2018-19 financial year forecast to be 1.6 per cent lower in real terms than in 2010-11, measured against CPI.

I am also encouraged that the Government is committed to ensuring that all local authorities retain 75 per cent of their business rates from the 2020-21 financial year, granting councils the levers and incentives they need to grow their local economies.