Responding to the local government finance settlement, Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said:
“It is really disappointing the government hasn’t done more to support councils in the settlement after such a difficult year for London boroughs, which have pushed themselves to the limit to help Londoners and London businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Core funding is barely increasing for under-pressure local services - instead the government’s overall 4.5% increase to Core Spending Power assumes local taxpayers must foot the bill during such a challenging time for us all, passing the buck on a difficult decision to local government.
“The further financial support set out in the Spending Review to support the Covid-19 response, while welcome, will not go far enough to cover London boroughs’ additional costs and lost income which will total over £2.2 billion in 2020-21. Even accounting for the compensation schemes for fees and charges and tax losses, we estimate London boroughs will have a £600 million funding shortfall that they will now have to manage.
“Finally, it is a shame that the settlement announcement is on the last day of this Parliamentary term, leaving little time for councils to plan their finances for next year. A longer-term approach would provide much more stability for essential local services.”