Public service union UNISON has launched a campaign to #SaveOurServices, asking people to #DemandThe10Billion in emergency funding, to address the shortfall facing local council services.
Easington MP Grahame Morris is supporting UNISON’s campaign. He said, “Councils have experienced huge losses as a result of the pandemic. It is vital that the Government provides the £10 billion so that councils are not forced to make impossible choices about the most basic services.”
The pandemic has created a huge shortfall in funding for local services due to the increase in expenditure that was required, as councils scrambled to fight coronavirus. Food deliveries to the most vulnerable members of the community, support for social care providers, getting rough sleepers off the streets and the work to help track and trace efforts, have cost councils billions.
At the same time, crucial revenue from business rates and council tax dried up during lockdown, when the Chancellor announced a business rate holiday in March for the 2020/21 financial year for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Business rates have increasingly made up more of the funding for councils in recent years, as grant funding has been cut. Parking fees, planning fees and income from things like leisure services, have also been significantly disrupted.
The shortfall caused by the pandemic is compounded by ten years of cuts. Central government funding for councils fell by 49% in real terms between 2010/11 and 2017/18 in England, according to analysis by the National Audit Office. LGA analysis on council finances published in March 2020 found that councils will have lost £15 billion of core Government funding over the past decade. Councils in the more deprived parts of England were hit disproportionately badly.
UNISON has launched a campaign video illustrating the impossible choices that could soon come to define our communities as we enter the winter and a major recession: