New report reveals councils face £50bn black hole over next six years as local authorities could resort to cutting services
Bus services, council tax discount schemes and fly-tipping prevention could all be hit by a £50billion funding "black hole" facing councils over the next six years.
A new report by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that an increased demand for public services and rising costs is leaving Lincolnshire County Council in need of an extra £17billion funding for 2019-20 alone.
The report, prepared by PwC on behalf of the County Councils Network, also found that even with a council tax rise of nearly three per cent, adding just under £250 to the average Band D bill, the funding gap between 2020 to 2025 would still be more than £30billion for county councils like Lincolnshire.
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: "We are determined to innovate at every opportunity, making services better, rather than just keeping them the same.
"However, this is no easy task at a time of hugely reduced funding, with both demand for services and our responsibilities growing.
"We very much welcome the PwC/CCN report which highlights the challenges local government faces in delivering the services our residents rely on.
"Over the last few years, we have managed to balance the books through innovation and increased efficiency, avoiding the need for severe cuts.
"However, with ever-rising demand for both children's and adults' social services, we are now at a point where a substantial increase in funding is needed.
"There is also further evidence that county councils are bearing the brunt of these pressures and continue to be short-changed, compared to metropolitan areas.
"I hope the Government will take this report into account and create a fairer approach to local government funding."
The PwC/CCN report also measures the impact on district councils, such as South Holland, estimating a funding gap of just over £3billion for 2019-20.
Speaking in his role as chairman of the Local Government Association after the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Spring Statement in March, South Holland District Council leader Coun Gary Porter said: "The money local government has to maintain the services our communities rely on is running out fast and huge uncertainty remains about how local services will be paid for into the next decade.
"If we truly value our local services then we have to be prepared to pay for them.
"Funding councils fully is the only way they will be able to keep providing the services which matter to people’s lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer.”
“Now is the time to invest in our people and our places."