Local government services, including children’s services, are funded through the local government finance settlement. Funding is generally unringfenced to allow local authorities the freedom and flexibility to set their own service budgets to meet local needs. Spending Review 2015 made available over £200 billion across this five-year spending period.
In recognition of the pressures on services such as social care, at Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced an extra £410 million to address pressures on adult and children social care services. In total local authorities have been given access to £46.4 billion in 2019-20; a cash-increase of 2.8 per cent from £45.1 billion in 2018-19.
Central government funding in isolation cannot provide a true representation of local authority finances, much of which is locally raised such as council tax. Furthermore, since 2010 the responsibilities of local authorities and the makeup of their funding streams have changed significantly, for example, with the introduction of the Business Rates Retention Scheme in 2013/14 which allows local authorities to keep local growth in their business rates income.