Cabinet Minister deems funding additions as ‘insufficient and belated’

Wigan Council’s finance cabinet member has emphasized the urgent need for a long-term funding settlement for local government, stating that it is long overdue. As councils prepare their budgets, Councillor Nazia Rehman expressed dissatisfaction with recent announcements from the central government, deeming them insufficient to alleviate longstanding pressures.

Despite significant savings being required, Wigan Council has managed to deliver a balanced budget without cutting frontline services, thanks to careful financial planning. However, the recent government decision to allocate £500m to councils responsible for social care was deemed inadequate by Councillor Nazia Rehman.

Highlighting the concerns raised by the Local Government Association, which predicts a funding gap of £4bn over the next two years due to inflationary pressures and the escalating costs of social care, Councillor Nazia Rehman stressed the necessity for a sustainable funding settlement, updated distribution mechanisms, and reforms. These measures are long overdue and should be made an urgent priority.

Over the past decade, Wigan Council has faced a £180m budget reduction. Despite this, services have been maintained, and residents have enjoyed one of the lowest council tax rates in the region. The council’s budget for 2024/25 will be determined by the full council in March.

Councillor Nazia Rehman further stated that the latest government announcement is inadequate when considering the discontinuation of the Household Support Grant, a reduction in the services grant, and ongoing financial pressures. Expressing disappointment, she highlighted that many councils, across the political spectrum, are at risk of issuing section 114 notices. Wigan Council will continue to advocate for fair funding for local services.

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