Henry Smith MP has welcomed the news that councils will receive a real terms increase in funding for vital local services.
The provisional Local Government Finance Settlement gives councils a real terms increase in core spending power for 2019-20 – up from £45.1 billion to £46.4 billion. This brings the level of local government funding to more than £200 billion in the five years to 2020.
The £1.3 billion funding boost allows councils like West Sussex County Council to deliver the services residents need while protecting them from unfair hikes in their council tax bills.
This increase follows significant Government investment in local services announced at last year’s Budget. The Government is giving councils £650 million for social care next year – building on the £240 million announced to relieve winter pressures on the NHS, £420 million to tackle potholes and £84 million more for children’s social care.
The Government is supporting opportunity for communities by increasing business rates retention to 75 per cent from 2020. This gives West Sussex County Council even more incentive to work towards local economic growth so more of the revenue raised locally is kept locally, to be spent on services for hard-working people.
“I’m delighted the Government is delivering a settlement which paves the way for a fairer, more self-sufficient and resilient future for local government and a brighter future for the people and places they serve.
“This settlement delivers a real terms increase in spending for local authorities in 2019 to 2020 and gives them more control over the money they raise too, while protecting residents against excessive council tax rises.
“I’ve been working alongside other county MPs, as well as the leadership of West Sussex County Council, to ensure greater retention of business rates (rather than this local corporate tax going centrally to HM Treasury as it does now); a cause I’ve raised with the Secretary of State for Local Government and in the House of Commons.
“Last month’s settlement confirmed our work had paid off, with West Sussex being included in the Government’s pilot programme of 75 per cent business rates retention in 2019-20.
“The existing business rates retention scheme taking place around the country is already yielding strong results, with councils estimating that in 2018-19 they will keep around £2.4 billion in business rates growth.”