The plight of millions of Londoners affected by stretched local public services has led 32 of the capital’s voluntary sector organisations and funders to write to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond.
The letter says the impact of reductions to London boroughs’ funding has rippled out to affect London’s voluntary sector, leading a larger number of Londoners with more severe and complex needs to turn to charities and advocacy groups.
London boroughs’ core funding has fallen 63 per cent during this decade. At the same time the capital’s population has grown by almost 1 million people and looks likely to increase further in the years ahead.
The letter urges the Treasury to prioritise greater investment in local public services in the next Spending Review.
Paul Goulden, CEO, Age UK London, who signed the letter, said:
“The government needs to recognise the incredibly valuable contribution that the local Age UKs and other voluntary organisations make to the wellbeing of older people in the capital. The current funding pressures bring the sustainability of London’s voluntary sector into serious doubt, which could place thousands of vulnerable older Londoners at risk. This is a matter of great urgency, as London’s older population is growing, with the number of people aged 65+ expected reach to 1.2 million by 2024. We need action now on funding to prevent more older people becoming lonely and vulnerable in future.”
Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s Chief Executive, who signed the letter, said:
“Recent St Mungo’s research revealed a shocking £1bn a year funding gap for homelessness services in England which must be a wake-up call for the Government.
“Councils have a crucial role to play in preventing and reducing homelessness and rough sleeping, but years of cuts have left them struggling to tackle rising homelessness with fewer and fewer resources. While recent short term funding under the rough sleepers initiative has been welcome it does not replace what has been lost in cuts. If the Government does not act to restore funding to previous levels, it will miss its target of ending rough sleeping by 2027.
“The human cost of these cuts is all too real. The people we work with – many struggling with poor mental health, substance use or domestic violence – are often being left with no option but to sleep rough. The Government must use this year’s Spending Review to put the money back and to turn the tide of rising homelessness. It can only do this by committing to a programme of guaranteed, long-term funding, so that everyone can find and keep a home for good.”
James Banks, Director of London Funders, said:
"We know how vital the voluntary sector is to London life - millions of Londoners access services from charities each year, and millions of Londoners get the chance to change their lives and their communities through social action - but also that the sector is facing increasing demand, complexity and challenge across the capital. The money needed to support this vital part of London life comes from all sectors - public, independent and business - and we need all to play their part if we are to thrive. Investing in civil society, alongside vital public services, is crucial, and we call on the Chancellor to recognise the importance of public sector investment to London".
Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils’ Grants Committee, said:
“The strength of feeling among our voluntary sector partners about the damage done by a decade of funding reductions to local government is incredibly strong. It is worrying to hear how difficult they are finding it to keep going, especially given the growing level of need for their services in London.
“It is clear that we urgently need a long-term, sustainable funding settlement for London’s councils in the next Spending Review. This will help with the pressure that the capital’s voluntary organisations and funders are under as they battle to support and advocate for vulnerable Londoners with specific needs.
“London boroughs are grateful for their backing on this important issue, as we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder to protect valuable services.”
The letter was sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Wednesday 5th June.
To learn more about the case for investing in local public services, click here.