Wakefield Council Leader responds to Government funding announcement

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Leader of Wakefield Council has slammed the Government’s latest funding announcement.

“Local Government has never been in such a difficult financial position. So there isn’t a Council anywhere in the country that won’t badly need this additional money. 

“Wakefield is tackling a budget gap of £33m next year. That’s despite the fact we’ve run the Council very responsibly over the years. Whilst we obviously welcome additional resources, this amounts to another sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound.

“We will have to spend over £300m next year to deal with demand on our children’s and adult services. That’s £300m just to keep those services running. This latest funding will give us just over 1% of that critical spend. With absolutely no guarantee we can rely on it in future years.

“It does absolutely nothing to ease the burden we are forced to put on our residents through local taxation. All the Government’s financial calculations assume Councils apply the maximum increase for Council Tax, quite simply giving us no choice.”  

Cllr Denise Jeffery

Leader of Wakefield Council

Cllr Denise Jeffery

The Government’s announcement gives Councils six months to produce new ‘productivity plans’ as part of the terms of additional funding announced. The Secretary of State Michael Gove has said the plans would be used to inform funding settlements in future years. More details on the process will be provided by the Government in the coming weeks.

Cllr Jeffery added: “Council leaders, from every political party, are crying out for long term, sustainable core funding. But they continue to be ignored by this Government. It’s clear that this announcement is yet another Conservative smokescreen. It’s been done in haste with no intention of doing the right thing for our residents or for vulnerable service users across the country.”

Councils must produce the plans by parliament’s summer break on 23 July.

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