The draft 2019/20 local government spending settlement commits up to £20m to maintain the New Homes Bonus baseline at 0.4%.
Putting the draft to the Commons this morning (13th Dec), Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said the commitment is a “reward” to councils for home delivery.
Provisional local authority funding allocations will be subject to further review before final settlement.
As drafted, the settlement forecasts Core Spending Power as set to increase from £45.1bn in 2018-19 to £46.4bn in 2019-20 – a rise of 2.8%.
Brokenshire acknowledged the challenge for councils to “drive efficiencies” under central government’s austerity programme.
“Which is why I’m delighted that the Budget committed around £1bn of extra funding for local services, with a strong focus on supporting some of our most vulnerable groups,” said Brokenshire.
“This includes £650m for adults and children’s social care in 2019-20,” he said.
Of this, £240m will go toward easing winter pressures, with the flexibility to use the remainder – £410m for either adult or children’s services and, where necessary, to relieve demands on the NHS.
This is on top of the £240m announced in October to address winter pressures this year.
In addition, the Budget pledged an extra £84m over the next five years to expand Children’s Social Care support.
Brokenshire used the settlement announcement to say the Green Paper on the future of Social Care would be published “soon”.
LGA chair Lord porter said it was “disappointing” that the government had not used the draft settlement to provide further desperately-needed resources for councils.
“Next year will continue to be hugely challenging for all councils, who still face an overall funding gap of £3.2bn 2019-20,” he said.
Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, that for the first time in many years, this settlement confirms that the government has recognised short-term pressures facing local government.
“Whilst today’s settlement contains vital short term support, it does not solve medium term financial pressures so tough decisions will still need to be taken and our members will have little choice but to raise council tax to meet demand-led pressures in services,” said Carter.
“Looking ahead, we should be under no illusions of the scale of the challenge facing county authorities, with the long-term future of councils dependent on whether we receive sustainable and fairer funding from 2020 onwards,” he said.