The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has announced a new inquiry into local government finance.
Ahead of the Spending Review 2019 expected this autumn, the inquiry will consider how effective the existing funding set-up for local government is in providing resources to meet need and demand for local services both now and in the future.
The Committee’s work will seek to directly inform government policy towards local government funding in the Spending Review and beyond.
Committee Chair, Clive Betts MP, said:
“As the Government this week announced targeted funding to some struggling local areas, and ahead of the forthcoming spending review, it is the perfect time to look at the bigger picture of local government funding. We have launched this inquiry to understand the impact of the current arrangements for funding local government services, and the effect this has in different areas, with different challenges and demands – the total local funding and how this is calculated.
We will also investigate how the government arrives at its spending decisions and what mechanisms are in place to assess local need. Our aim is to provide constructive recommendations that can feed in to the upcoming Spending Review to provide a fair and effective funding system to support the provision of local services.”
The Committee is inviting submissions specifically around:
- What lessons can be learned from past changes to local government funding in England, the current financial situation of councils, and how this has affected their ability to deliver services.
- The efficiency, fitness for purpose and sustainability of the current system for funding local government (central government funding, council tax, business rates retention and other income); how it could be improved, including options for widening the available sources of funding; and what lessons can be learned from other jurisdictions.
- How funding needs of local government are assessed. The current and forecast funding needs of local government and how these needs can be better understood at both a national and local level.
- The approach the Government should take to local government funding as part of the 2019 Spending Review, what the key features of that settlement should be, and what the potential merits are of new or alternative approaches to the provision of funding within the review.
The deadline for submissions is 17 April 2019
About Parliament: Select committees