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News Headlines


Local government funding at the Spending Review 2015

The Spending Review and Autumn Statement delivers on the government’s priority to provide security to working people at every stage of their lives. It sets out a 4 year plan to fix the public finances, return the country to surplus and run a healthy economy that starts to pay down the debt.

By ensuring Britain’s long term economic security, the government is able to spend £4 trillion on its priorities over the next 4 years.

For local government, there is a cash terms rise from £40.3 billion to £40.5 billion in 2019 to 2020 with councils having almost £200 billion over the course of this Parliament to spend on local services. This represents a fall of just 1.7% per year in real terms over the Spending Review period.

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Spending Review and Autumn Statement at-a-glance

Spending Review headlines

Planned £4.4bn in tax credit cuts abandoned, with taper and threshold rates for working tax credits and child tax credits remaining the same

As a result, government to breach overall welfare cap in first years of Parliament

Government to borrow £8bn less than forecast, with the aim of securing £10.1bn budget surplus by 2020

Total spending to rise from £756bn this year to £821bn by 2019-20

State spending to hit 36.5%, as a share of total output, in five years - down from 45% in 2010

Overall day-to-day departmental spending to fall by 0.8% each year by 2020, lower than during the 2010-15 Parliament

Health, education, police, international aid and defence budgets protected

Transport, environment and energy among biggest losers, resource budgets falling by 37%, 15% and 22% respectively

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LGA Warning Over Councils 'Right on the Edge'

Lord Porter, the Chair of the LGA, speaking ahead of the Spending Review has warned of the risks to local government. He said: ‘ We are not going to see hundreds of councils falling over in the next year or two. But we are close to a dozen nationally, which will, if the spending review goes the way we think it will, be right on the edge and ready to go’. The LGA has warned that the expected cuts to be announced in the Spending Review could deliver a ‘knockout blow’ to local services. Lord Porter said the impact on core services be impossible to hide; every children’s centre in England, could be closed saving £700m, but the sum would only plug the funding gap facing adult social care for a year.

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Other Headlines

NHS Set to Receive £3.8bn Funding Increase in 2016-17

The Spending Review is to announce a £3.8bn funding increase for the National Health Service in 2016-17, meeting the health service's request for the additional funding for the NHS to be front-loaded. he profile of the extra NHS spending is set to be £3.8bn in 2016-17 and £1.5bn in 2017-18, followed by smaller increases in the following two years, before a larger rise in 2020-21. NHS England Chief Executive sir Simon Stevens said the 'settlement is a clear and highly welcome acceptance of our argument for front-loaded NHS investment. It will help stabilise current pressures on hospitals, GPs, and mental health services, and kickstart the NHS Five Year Forward View’s fundamental redesign of care. In the context of constraints on overall public spending, our case for the NHS has been heard and actively supported'.

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New 2% Social Care Precept in Addition to 2% Referendum Cap Expected in Spending Review

The Chancellor, George Osborne, is expected to announce in his Spending Review statement that local authorities will be able to increase council tax by 2%, specifically for social care, in addition to the normal council referendum, expected to remain at 2%. if every eligible council decided to impose the 2% “social care” precept, it could raise an additional £2bn by the end of the Parliament in 2020. .The proposal for a council tax social care precept was recently supported by Alan Milburn the Government’s social mobility commissioner, who said it would help Osborne avert a crisis.

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Councils set to freeze services as they reach 'tipping point'

Councils are starting to freeze non-essential services as they reach a "tipping point" ahead of an expected fresh round of deep spending cuts, according to new research by the Press Association. The survey of local authorities across Britain shows the scale of cuts they are already facing, amid warnings of the impact on services ranging from caring for the elderly and protecting children to bin collection, pothole repairs, street lighting, social work, museums and maintaining parks. Lord Porter, Chairman of the LGA said: "With councils already struggling to keep services running and facing almost £10 billion in additional cost pressures by the end of the decade, it is clear that a similar funding cut again would mean that some councils would have to review how they deliver their statutory duties. The ability of councils to provide many of the services people take for granted, like clean and well-lit streets, maintained parks and access to leisure centres, could become significantly impacted. Vital services, such as caring for the elderly, protecting children, collecting bins, filling potholes and maintaining our parks and green spaces, could struggle to continue at current levels."

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Councils set to freeze services as they reach 'tipping point'

Millions of people face council tax rises to help tackle the social care funding crisis under plans announced by George Osborne this week.

Local authorities will be given the power to raise council tax by an additional 2 per cent to help plug the shortfall in social care funding, which has fallen to the lowest level for 20 years.

The power will be announced by Mr Osborne on Wednesday, when he is also expected to unveil significant cuts to funding for front-line police officers to help balance the books. 

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Spending Review: Schools to get 'fair funding' formula

Plans to redress differences in school funding across England are expected to be outlined in the Autumn Statement.

Change will begin in 2017-18 after consultation on the details, which could happen in early 2016, George Osborne is likely to say on Wednesday.

This would begin to reduce historical variations in funding per pupil between different areas of England.

School budgets face a likely fall of 8% per pupil due to rising costs during the next five years. 

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Concerns that Public Health Funding Will Not Be Protected in Spending Review

There are concerns that public health, along with funding for health education, will face cuts in the Spending Review. According to the BBC, the commitment to protecting health expenditure will only apply to funding for NHS England. Public health funding for local authorities is expected to be reduced, although reports suggest that the annual budget of £800m for health visiting for 0-5 year-olds will be ring-fenced, with spending reductions applied to other areas of public health.

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Head teachers appeal for funds ahead of Spending Review

Head teachers have written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan expressing their concern over future funding for schools in England.

The National Association of Head Teachers claims education is being seen as a cost rather than an investment.

Ahead of next week's Spending Review, the NAHT is calling for a fair national funding formula for education.

The Department for Education says it is "protecting the schools budget, which will rise as pupil numbers increase".

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‘National living wage’ will push up wages at more than half of employers

The new “national living wage” will push up wages at more than half of all employers, forcing many of them to seek savings through improved productivity, according to a major survey.

The survey, one of the first to test the mood among employers before the higher wage comes into effect next April, found that 54% of respondents said it will have a material effect on their wage bill.

In response, three in 10 of those organisations affected are planning to recoup some or all of the extra cost by raising productivity, according to the survey by the Resolution Foundation and the CIPD, the professional body for personnel staff.

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Mental health early deaths 'worrying in one in four areas'

Nearly one in four areas of England has unacceptably high rates of early deaths among people with mental health problems, a report suggests.

The warning by independent experts funded by the Cabinet Office came after they looked at deaths before 75 in 2011-12 in more than 200 local areas.

In each area, the premature mortality rate was higher among those with mental health problems.

But in 51 areas, it was judged to be "particularly worrying".

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Mayoral Devolution Could Leave Out Counties IPPR Warns

A report by the IPPR thinktank has warned that a 'one-size-fits-all; model for devolving powers to directly elected mayors could see counties miss out. Ed Cox, IPPR north's director said 'Devolution deals can drive economic development, but the process needs far more understanding and flexibility from government to work for the counties, who have different needs and organisational structure'. IPPR's report concluded that in complex multi-tiered counties, with a small number of different centres of economic activity and little collective cultural or political identity, the posts should not be required if existing democratic arrangements are fit for purpose.

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Devolution: English counties tell George Osborne they must be involved in plans to devolve powers

English counties must be at the forefront of George Osborne’s devolution plans and not be ignored in favour of major cities, as they need new powers to help drive economic growth, a leading think-tank has said.

Counties represent half of England’s population and two-fifths of the economy, but there is concern they could be left behind as the Chancellor pushes to devolve powers to urban areas in his Northern Powerhouse plans.

A major report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says counties could become a driving force behind national economic growth and there is a “strong case” for giving them extra powers, but they risk “being cut off” from the benefits of devolution

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Health Secretary's personal view is that Government needs to move to a 'trajectory where social care is protected'

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hun,t has hinted that social care funding may receive some protection in the Spending Review. He told the NHS Providers conference that ‘it was his personal view, he said, that policy needed to evolve to ensure a ‘trajectory where social care is protected’. The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, in his speech said ‘when social care is cut, the NHS bleeds’. Mr Hunt, indicated his sympathy for the argument saying ministers, including the chancellor, recognised that health and social care, despite being run by separate organisations were interdependent. however, Mr Hunt warned there was little room for manoeuvre in providing frontloaded funding for the NHS. He said ‘The spending review will be the most difficult spending review in a generation and possibly in the history of the NHS. This is a very, very challenging financial situation for the government and for the chancellor’. The Health Secretary also defended the £200m in-year cut to the public health grant.

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Retailers Lobby Government over Business Rates

Retail bosses have met with treasury ministers to raise concerns over business rates, ahead of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement. Retailers are expected to pay £8bn in business rates this year, 25% of the UK total. For every £1 a large retailer pays in corporation tax, the company pays £2.31 in business rates. A source close to the talks said the meeting focused measures to share the rates burden more fairly throughout the economy with other business. According to Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, the supermarket chain's business rates bill has risen by 35% in the last five years at a time when profits have fallen significantly.

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Mental health gets only 1 per cent of council cash

Local authorities in England are spending on average just 1 per cent of their public health budgets on tackling mental health problems, the charity Mind has calculated. Mind estimates just under £40 million will be spent by local authorities in 2015-16, compared with nearly £664 million on measures relating to sexual health, £160m on stop smoking measures, £111 million on tackling obesity and £96 million on promoting physical activity. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, LGA spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said: “It is wrong to look at mental health funding in isolation without considering the range of other services councils provide that directly impact on people with mental health issues. Local authorities do a huge amount of positive grassroots work including tackling obesity, and helping people to get active, stop smoking and cut down on drinking. As physical and mental health are inextricably linked, this has a major impact. Just last week the government confirmed a £200 million reduction in the public health grant for 2015-16. Councils, who only took over responsibility for public health just over two years ago, cannot be expected to reverse decades of underinvestment in mental health spending by successive governments overnight.  Local authorities have a finite budget and many competing health priorities. What is needed is a holistic approach to mental health, which involves providing a range of different services.

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Osborne to announce departmental cuts

George Osborne is expected to announce today that four government departments including the Department for Communities and Local Government have agreed to cut their budgets by 8 per cent each year for the rest of Parliament.  The Chancellor will insist that deep cuts to public spending in his Autumn Statement this month are necessary to make the country “more resilient”. The other departments are the Department for Transport, DEFRA and The Treasury.

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Call for council-run schools to sponsor academies

High-performing, council-run schools in England should be allowed to sponsor struggling schools without becoming academies first, say town hall bosses.

The Local Government Association feels that with lots of council-run schools flourishing, they should be allowed to take over failing academies.

By contrast, too many academy chains are performing poorly, argues the LGA. 

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LGA Calls for Business Rates Self-Assessment

The Local Government Association has called for a change to the business rates valuation system, arguing businesses should be responsible for self-assessment valuation of their properties. The LGA is proposing a system in the run-up to the 2017 valuation, where businesses would be able to submit their own assessment of their own rateable value to the VOA. It would be the VOA’s responsibility to appeal any valuation it believed was inaccurate. The VOA would also be responsible for assessing the rateable value of any business choosing not to self-assess, however, those businesses would only have three months to appeal.

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Drivers miss payouts for ‘pothole epidemic’

The UK has a pothole every eight miles with more than 31,000 in need of being filled in, according to new figures. One in seven motorists said they had damaged their car on bad road surfaces in the last year with councils paying out £1.6 million in compensation for damages, according to Freedom of Information research by LV Insurance.

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NAO Warning on Fire Authorities' Financial Resilience

Two studies by the National Audit Office (NAO) on the financial ustainability of fire and rescue services and the impact of funding reductions on the authorities has found that has found that whilst there have been no financial failures yet as a result of cuts, further reductions could negatively affect the service's capacity to respond to major incidents. both reports said further savings could only be achieved by cutting fire fighter numbers. The Comptroller and Auditor General said 'I would expect DCLG to have a better understanding of the appropriate funding level necessary to support services, in order to maintain the financial sustainability of the sector in the context of funding cuts.

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UK Population to Grow by Over 10m in Next 25 Years

The population of the UK will rise to more than 70 million over the next 12 years according to the Office for national Statistics. There are currently 64.6 million people in the country, this will rise to 70 million by 2027 and by 9.7 million over the next 25 years. The population will also get older, with 29.5% of people aged over 60 by 2039 - up from 23.2% this year. More than one in every 12 people in the UK will be aged over 80 or older by 2039.

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LGPS Costs and Income Rise, Figures Show

A statistical release from DCLG on the Local Government Pension Scheme funds in England has shown the total market value of funds at the end of March this year was just over £200bn, an increase of 13% on its value on March 2014. The figures showed the LGPS spent a total of £12.1bn in 2014/15 against income of £15.2bn. In total £8.3bn was spent on pensions, lump sums and other benefits, £3bn on the disposal of liabilities, £689m in fund management costs and £121m in administration costs. Expenditure in 2014/15 was 79% of income, up from 77% last year and just 58% in 2005/06. Employers’ contributions to the LGPS totalled £6.9bn, while employees’ contributions were £1.9bn. Investment income was £3.3bn and £3bn was received in transfer values.

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Small Businesses Want Say in Business Rate Increases

The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the Government's recent announcement on business rates devolution, but has called for small businesses to be ‘properly consulted’ and have ‘a strong voice in any tax raising decisions.’John Allan, the national chairman of the FSB,said the power for directly elected mayors to increase the multiplier should be accompanied by a responsibility to 'reflect the wishes of the whole business community'.

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BCF Will Continue, Ministers Say

The Care Minister, Alistair Burt, and Local Government Minister, Marcus Jones, have written to health and wellbeing board chairs confirming the Better Care Fund will continue in 2016-17. In the letter, sent earlier this month,the ministers write that the future minimum size of the Fund, currently set at £3.8bn, cannot be confirmed until the the spending review on 25 November. They wrote 'the local flexibility to pool more than the mandatory amount will remain; however, detail about the minimum size of the fund will not be confirmed until after the spending review reports ... when we will also have greater clarity on the policy framework that will underpin the better care fund next year'.

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Proposed Public Health Cut Calls into Question Government's NHS Funding Commitment

A coalition of doctors, nurses, and council leaders have written to the Chancellor saying the proposed £200m in-year cut to the 2015-16 public heath grant would have a direct impact on the NHS and accuse the Government of misleading the public by describing the cuts as “non-NHS”.

The letter states the 'cut will have a direct impact on the people and communities who rely on this funding, and it will have a direct impact on the NHS which will have to pick up the pieces...Cutting this funding reduces NHS revenues so it is misleading to suggest that the NHS budget is being protected'. The letter is signed by the leaders of 11 organisations including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC), the Royal College of Nursing, the NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association.

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Elected mayors for north-east of England as devolution deal announced

The north-east of England and the Tees Valley are to each have an elected mayor to preside over regional issues, George Osborne has announced. The deal, hailed as "historic" by the chancellor, gives regional figureheads power over policies such as transport, strategic planning and employment. People will choose a directly-elected mayor in 2017, despite a no vote for a "Geordie Boris" in a 2004 referendum. The deal is part of the government's Northern Powerhouse programme.

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Moody’s: business rate devolution will drive up council debt

In an analysis of the impact of the Chancellor George Osborne’s plan to devolve full business rate growth to local authorities by 2020, the credit rating agency said council credit ratings were now likely to be “decoupled” from the sovereign rating of the UK.

“This change gives local authorities greater financial autonomy, and makes their credit profile more dependent on their own characteristics rather than on their links to the sovereign.”

As a result, local authorities with strong potential to grow businesses would benefit, while those unable to harness business growth “will be at a comparative disadvantage”. Among the areas it provides ratings for, the agency projected that councils like Guilford Borough Council, currently given the second top rating of AA1, would benefit from the change, while areas like Cornwall County Council (also AA1) and Lancashire County Council (AA2) would be negatively affected.

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£470m Reduction in Adult Social Care Predicted by Report

A report from AGE UK, ‘Health and Care for Older People 2015’ has predicted budget allocations for 2015-16 imply social care budgets will fall by a further £470m. According to the report the number of people aged 65 or over in England increased by 18.8% (or by 1.5m people) between 2005 and 2016, with the most significant growth amongst the over 85s (up by 29.3%). Given the steadily rising numbers, AGE UK funding for health and social care is failing to keep pace, adding to an already existing crisis in health and social care for elderly people.


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King’s Fund: pressure on councils now impacting on the NHS

In its latest Quarterly Monitoring Report, health services review body The King’s Fund says that nearly 90% of NHS Trust finance directors think financial pressures on local authorities are adversely affecting health care services in their local area. The report says this pressure is evident from the number of delayed transfers of care attributable to social care; these increased by more than 21% over the 12 months to August 2015/16.


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Per pupil spending 'to fall by 8%'

Spending per pupil in schools in England is likely to fall by 8% in real terms over the next five years, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warns.

It argues that school funding levels will feel quite different in the next five years from the previous five.

Schools are set to face real-terms reductions in spending per pupil for first time since the 1990s, it adds.

The report, however, says schools have been protected in recent years compared with other government departments.

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Spending review could floor local services, warns LGA

With non-protected Government departments having been asked to find savings of between 25% and 40% ahead of the spending review, the Local Government Association (LGA) has analysed the implications.

It found that a 40% real terms cut would equate to £8.4bn being taken away from central Government funding and £2.1bn from council budgets.

Overall, it would mean a 64% cut to local government grant funding between 2010 and 2020. Lord Porter, LGA chairman, said: ‘Councils are under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead. We know we face almost £10bn in cost pressures by 2020 even before the prospect of further challenging funding reductions over the next four years.

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Business rate reform will usher in council finance shake up

Marcus Jones said the announcement by Chancellor George Osborne that the revenue from the tax on business properties would be fully devolved by the end of the decade represented a historic opportunity for authorities.

Under the plan, revenue support grant will be phased out completely, although the system of top ups and tariffs, which operates under the existing system of local retention of half of rate growth, will be extended. The current safety net, which protects authorities against big drops in revenue, will also remain in place, but the current levy on disproportionate gains will end.

It is also proposed that the uniform national business rate will be abolished – although only to give all authorities the power to cut rates. Cities that create combined authorities with directly elected city-wide mayors will be able to increase rates for specific infrastructure projects, up to a cap that is likely to be set at 2p on the rate.

In a speech to the District Council Network’s assembly on Wednesday, Jones said the reform would be fiscally neutral.

As well as seeing revenue support grant end, Jones said councils would be expected to take on additional responsibilities in return for the fiscal powers, with more details to be set out in the spending review on November 25.

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Town hall chiefs warn of bedblocking crisis this winter

The LGA said new analysis reveals 145,067 hospital beds have been 'blocked' over the past 12 months, an increase of 7,454 days from the previous year.

The figures show that 30% of all cases are a direct result of not having enough social care provision to enable someone to be discharged from hospital. The LGA says that despite these figures, less than 6% of available funding is used to ease pressure on social care.

It urges the Government to urgently release more money to local areas to prevent a ‘crisis’ this winter.

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Care funding is a ‘postcode lottery’

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made by Which? to 180 local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland showed huge variations in the standard weekly rate councils contribute to the funding of residential care.

As well as disparities between north and south, the consumer watchdog also discovered that there could be a lot of variation between authorities in close proximity to one another. In Greater London, for example, there is a difference of £138 for the standard weekly rate between neighbouring boroughs Bromley (£555) and Croydon (£417).

The research also shows around a third (36%) of councils have a maximum standard rate of £434 for personal care, with 53% paying a maximum of £435 to £539. One in 10 (11%) councils paid a maximum of more than £540. The highest rate found was Lewisham’s maximum of £768.

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Health devolution will not work everywhere, says former DoH chief

Speaking at a King’s Fund breakfast event on devolution and health on 13 October, Sir Hugh Taylor, who retired as DoH permanent secretary in 2010, said that, “on the whole”, he was an enthusiast for devolution.

But he cautioned against assumptions that the Manchester model could be easily copied everywhere, as it had benefited from continuity of leadership in the city and its roots were laid down a long time again.

“It’s not a magic bullet … and not easily replicable in other geographies.”

Taylor, who now chairs Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, also observed the difficulty of taking “big decisions” with the agreement of multiple stakeholders.

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A devolution conundrum

Will business-rich councils in individual regions help less prosperous or dormitory-like neighbours? There are going to be winners and losers, even with some reduced re-distribution. London will benefit, but what happens to secondary cities in the Midlands, the North and especially the North East? We have to wait and see.

Certainly, local government now has much more interest in encouraging business – just as countries engage in competitive tax regimes to attract the likes of Google, all sorts of options now open up for enterprising finance directors.

So far the British public has sighed, and moved on – well, those who have noticed. They like the idea of local control of spending in principle, but worry about ending up with different levels of services. They remain firmly opposed to letting local government control taxation, and the Government has no intention of letting this happen, but the squeeze some localities face in future looks considerable.

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Councils can 'double savings' if Government invests in prevention

Currently, just 5% of the entire healthcare budget is spent on schemes that prevent people from falling ill. And with a predicted £200m cut to public health budgets, councils are concerned that money is being reduced which could undercut prevention schemes.

The LGA argues that failure to tackle the crisis in the social care and health system will leave councils unable to manage future demand as it reaches unmanageable new levels.

An analysis of the exact cost benefits of 11 prevention programmes across the country designed to improve people's physical and mental health found that:

• Programmes keeping people aged between 40 and 65 active could save as much as £3.10 for every £1 spent.
• Telehealth care could have benefits of almost £2.70 for every £1 invested.
• If £1bn of transformation funding was spent on these programmes, including supporting unemployed people, reducing physical inactivity and tackling depression, money could be saved with knock-on benefits of almost £7.2bn over a 5 year period.

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ADASS/LGA Spending Review Submission Highlights Funding Challenges for Social Care

The LGA and ADASS have published their joint submission to the Government’s Spending Review, calling on the Government to take urgent action to close the gap in care funding. The submission states that the problem could be addressed In part by using funding previously earmarked for the Care Act, but this would still leave, according to LGA/ADASS, adult social care facing an estimated £1.7bn funding gap by 2019/20. The groups have said Government needs to allocate £2bn in each year of this Parliament to help the system move more towards prevention, rather than simply fixing problems; the submission also emphasises sufficient funding must be made available for Deprivation of Liberty safeguards (DoLs) and the introduction of the National Living Wage.

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Kent County Council considers council tax rise

People in Kent are being asked if they will accept a council tax rise to help the county balance its books. Kent County Council said it needed to make £80m savings in 2016/17.

It has started a six-week consultation asking people where money should be spent. It includes a proposal to increase council tax by 1.99%. The council said a £33m cut in government funding and £58m of additional demands being placed on it, had led to the need for savings.

The council tax proposal is the largest increase allowable without triggering a referendum. The council said the rise would raise £11m for the authority.

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27% Cuts for Non-Protected Departments, IFS Warns

The Institute for Fiscal Studies have published their analysis of the constraints facing the Government ahead of the Treasury’s Spending Review, to be published on 25 November. According to the thinktank, unprotected Whitehall departments will need to £23.7bn, 18.8% of their budgets in real terms, to meet the Chancellor’s plans to increase spending on the NHS, Ministry of Defence and international aid. After taking account of devolved funding through the Barnett Formula, unprotected areas face real terms revenue reductions of 27% from 2015-16 to 2019-20.The IFS briefing paper states that over the course of the decade ‘the total real cut... would reach around 50%’ for unprotected departments.

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Chancellor Announces 100% Business Rates Retention for Local Authorities

The Chancellor, George Osborne, speaking at the Conservative Party conference this morning has announced that, by the end of this Parliament, local authorities will be able to retain 100% of business rates. He told delegates: 'All £26bn of business rates will be kept by councils rather than being sent back to Whitehall'. Further consultation is likely to take place on the plans in the coming months.

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Free School Meals Will Not Be Cut, Says PM

Following recent speculation about the scrapping of universal infant free school meals the Prime Minister's official spokesman has said Mr Cameron ‘is committed to free school meals in England’. Following the announcement of the demand to find 25% and 40% real terms cuts the future of the scheme was thought to be up for debate. The spokesman said the prime minister had made the point that ‘it was in the manifesto, the manifesto words are very clear - we're proud of what we've done with free school meals’. The National Association of Head Teachers called for ‘a swift and unequivocal statement’ from government that it would honour its general election pledge to fund a meal for all infant children. Their General Secretary, Russell Hobby said ‘that message could and should be delivered straight away’.

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CCN Chair Calls for a 'Fairer Settlement'

The Chair of the County Councils Network, Cllr Paul Carter has called for the Spending Review to reflect pressures at different tiers of local government by differentiating reductions. Cllr Carter said funding should reflect the demand pressures faced by councils, adding that counties are particularly facing pressures in social care and concessionary travel. He also said that counties were continuing to work on devolution plans arguing that governance reform is ‘not a total precondition’ to extra powers. The Treasury minister Jim O'Neill has previously said that only limited devolution would be offered to areas that do not adopt elected mayors.

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Cost of Councils Picking Up Academies' Deficits Reaches £30m

Figures obtained by the BBC from freedom of information requests show £32.5m worth of deficits from schools converting to academies had been cleared by local authorities. Deficits have been cleared using funding from the Dedicated Schools Grant. The LGA Deputy Chair David Simmonds said ‘it is not right that the taxpayer foots the bill. This money could instead be spent in ways which directly benefits pupils’. A DfE spokesperson said councils were ‘only required to cover a school's deficit when it has become a sponsored academy after a prolonged period of underperformance, and the deficit was accumulated under council control’.

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Social Care Sector Facing Uncertain Future, Providers Warn

A coalition of social services directors, charities, providers and the NHS have launched a campaign calling for fair funding of social care in the Spending Review. The alliance which includes the Associations of Directors of Adult Social Services, Care Providers Alliance, Care and Support Alliance and the NHS Confederation said there was a serious risk that the new national living wage and the decline in fees paid by councils decline would lead many providers to exit the market. Their submission to the Spending Review, said year-on-year cuts since 2010 threatened the dignity of older and disabled people and their carers as well as the sustainability of the care market and the NHS.

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Revealed: Shocking NHS postcode lottery for elderly care

Elderly people in some parts of the country are nine times more likely than in others to be admitted to hospital as emergency cases - for lack of the right care in their local communities.

The figures, published by Public Health England, are among more than 100 measures assessed today in an "NHS atlas" exposing enormous variations in NHS care.

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One in Five Council Workers Will Receive National Living Wage Pay Boost, Says Thinktank

Research from the Resolution Foundation has suggested the new National Living Wage will place particular pressure on councils where around one in five workers are expected to receive a pay rise. In contrast, fewer than one in ten central government employees will be affected. Overall there will be a 0.2% rise in the public sector pay bill by 2020, compared to 0.8% for the private sector by the end of the decade. The thinktank report said although the total increase in the public sector wage bill would be small, it could prove challenging to implement given the 1% cap on annual increases in the wage bill across the public sector for the next four years.

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Home Office Launch Consultation on PCCs Taking on Fire Responsibilities

The Home Office has published a consultation on reforms to enable Police and Crime Commissioners to take over responsibility for fire and rescue authorities in their area. The consultation proposes several options including allowing a PCC to create a single employer for police and fire staff. In areas where PCCs do not become responsible for fire and rescue services, the consultation proposes enabling them to have representation on their local fire and rescue authority. Separate funding streams for police and fire and rescue services would continue, as would separate precepts on the council tax bill, even if the police and fire services were under the control of a single organisation. The consultation closes on 23 October.

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Chancellor announces OBR forecast alongside the Spending Review

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced that there will be an OBR forecast alongside the Spending Review on Wednesday 25 November 2015. The government will therefore publish a joint Autumn Statement and Spending Review on this date.

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European Investment Bank Loans £102m for Schools Expansion in London Borough

The vice president of the European Investment Bank, Jonathan Taylor, has said the Bank expects to announce further support for UK schools in the coming months. His announcement came on a visit to the London borough of Croydon, which has agree a £102m, 25-year loan, with the Bank, which will help the council invest in building and upgrading 38 schools to provide the 5,182 primary school places and 2,100 secondary places that it is estimated are needed in the next three years. In total 6 new primary schools Six new secondary schools will be built as will a new school for children with special needs. The loan is the Bank's first ever to a local authority in England exclusively for investment in local schools. Mr Taylor said ‘the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment that improves lives and opportunities in London and across the UK’.

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Up to 30 Regions Expected to Submit Devolution Bids to Spending Review

The Local Government Association has said it believes at least £60bn of central government spending should be devolved to local areas over the next five years. On the day of deadline for submissions to the Spending Review up to 30 regions of England were expected to submit bids for devolved powers. Some of the deals already submitted and offers being finalised include Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire calling for a 10-year transport settlement and fully devolved housing investment, and Gloucestershire asking for control of all healthcare budgets, fully integrated health and social care and a single vision for health and wellbeing for the county.

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LGA Spending Review Submssion Highlights £10bn of Cost Pressures by 2019-20

The Local Government Association’s submission to the Treasury’s Spending Review has warned of extra, unfunded costs for councils worth £9.9bn by 2019-20. This is split between £3.6bn of what the LGA describes as “business as usual” costs: extra costs incurred through inflation factors such as demographic change, in particular care costs are rising because of the growing number of elderly people. Additional costs worth £6.3bn by the end of the Parliament will result from the impact of government policies for which local authorities have not been reimbursed.

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Councils Under Pressure to Use Reserves to Reduce Cuts

The Treasury is expected to urge councils to use reserves to offset the impact of expected spending reductions to be announced in the Spending Review. Treasury sources said councils’ “large reserves” must be looked at when the Government is looking at making significant savings. The Government is likely to demand that councils use the money in their reserves in the wake of the Spending Review; however, the Treasury has not ruled out the possibility of new legislation forcing local authorities to use their reserves in future, it is understood. A source close to Mr Osborne said: “The Chancellor and the Prime Minister have often referred to the large reserves councils have when asked questions about savings in local government. But there are no plans to seize them or restrict them.”

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Enterprise Zones Create 19,000 Jobs, DCLG Figures Show

Figures published by DCLG have shown that the 24 Enterprise Zones in England have created 19,000 jobs and attracted 540 companies and £2.2bn of private investment. According to the Government £440m has been spent on developing the 24 zones. Businesses in the 24 zones will receive business rate discounts until 2018. In 2012-13, income foregone from business rates cost the Government £10m. In July, the Chancellor George Osborne announced that he intended to create more enterprise zones; the deadline for bids is 18 September.

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Public Sector Workers May Not Receive 1% Pay Rise, says Chief Secretary

Greg Hands the chief secretary to the Treasury has written to the chairs of the seven independent public sector pay review bodies to say that not every public sector worker can expect to receive the 1% pay increase, announced in the Summer Budget. Mr Hands said the Government would fund a 1% rise for each year of the four years of the next Spending Review period, but that the increases needed to be ‘applied in a targeted manner to support the delivery of public services, and to address recruitment and retention pressures’. The general secretary of the public sector trade union Unison, Dave Prentis, said the 1% pay pledge was ‘smoke and mirrors’, adding ‘It is difficult to see how much targeting you can get from a miserly 1% without resulting in hundreds of thousands not getting a pay rise at all’. Local government pay is determined separately from the central government pay review bodies.

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Transport Groups Warn of Risks to 'Everday Transport' in Spending Review

A joint letter from the Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Living Streets, Pteg and Sustrans has warned of the risks to 'everyday transport' if local authority transport funding is cut in the Spending Review. The groups warned that as major investment programmes for roads and railways are protected, the expected budget cuts could mean further reductions in bus services, local roads falling into greater disrepair, and targets to increase walking and cycling missed. Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport The leeter called for the Government to review major transport programmes, especially the Road Investment Strategy, to help rebalance capital and revenue funding for everyday transport.

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National Living Wage will damage care homes

The National Living Wage could result in a "catastrophic collapse" in the number of care homes, according to the five biggest providers.

In a letter to the chancellor, they say staffing accounts for 60% of the cost of care.

The companies said they supported the National Living Wage, but efforts would be needed to rescue the care system.

The government said social care would be considered as part of the spending review later this year.

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Local Governmnet Pension Funds Receptive to Treasury Plans to Pool Investments

The Chair of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum Kieran Quinn has responded to the announcements in the Budget about the development of proposals to pool LGPS investments by saying the sector ‘accepts the challenge of change’. Mr Quinn said the Treasury’s call for funds to develop their own plans was ‘more positive’ than indications from the previous coalition government that it may impose reform, including moves to passive asset management. He added ‘the language is different than it has been previously, and therefore there is much more opportunity for us to find solutions’. Local Government Minister Marcus Jones said ‘Later this year we will set out those detailed criteria and publish a consultation on backstop legislation which will ensure that those administering authorities that do not come forward with sufficiently ambitious proposals are required to pool investment’.

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