The umbrella body London Councils is warning that an increasing number of local services are on the critical list due to growing demand from residents and inadequate funding from central Government.
In a submission to Government ahead of the Autumn Budget, London Councils has highlighted the threat that lack of investment poses to under-pressure teams working in housing and children’s services, on top of the risks already exposed in adult social care.
London’s population will swell to 9.1 million by 2020, having grown at ten times the rate of the rest of England. Yet by 2020 London boroughs will have experienced a 63% funding reduction since 2010.
London Councils’ research shows that that there will be a cumulative £1.5 billion funding black hole in borough finances by the end of the decade.
Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council and Chair of London Councils, outlined the problem:
“London boroughs are facing a 63% budget cut during this decade despite having a duty to provide a broader range of services to a growing number of people. We operate in a thriving global city and have the expertise to get things done, but frustratingly, we do not have the powers to ensure that our residents’ needs are met.
“The impact of such a significant drop in funding on services such as housing, children’s services and adult social care cannot be underestimated. Residents are already being affected and our capital’s reputation as a great place to live and work will be damaged unless things change.
“In the short term we are urging Government to recognise the £1.5 billion shortfall that London boroughs are facing. However it is clear that the local government funding system is broken and we need a more sustainable solution. Therefore we pledge to continue working with Government to reform public services and seek new opportunities for devolution.”