Local councils in Britain will look to scrap projects and essential services as they grapple with a combined £3.1bn funding blackhole.
Councils across England, Wales and Scotland face record financial shortfall in 2022/23 which will likely will lead to huge service and staff cuts at local authorities unless the government urgently finds the money to protect communities, the Unison union says.
As local councils are also fundined by council tax bills, these too could rise to try and make up the funding shortfall.
In London, Hackney Council faces an £11m deficit for the 2022/23 financial year. Teaching assistant jobs have already been cut during several school restructures over the past year, with more cost saving reforms ahead.
Among authorities with some of the largest deficit predicted, according to Unison’s Freedom of Information request, are Newcastle City Council (£94m shortfall), South Lanarkshire Council (£54m) and Neath Port Talbot Council (£18.9m), which between them must find £166.9m to maintain current service levels.
Unison said it is essential councils receive enough funding to provide for communities as life returns to normal after the pandemic.
General secretary Christina McAnea said: “These council funding shortfalls will result in cuts that are likely to hit the poorest in society hardest.
“Children struggling in class won’t be able to get the extra help they need to succeed.”
An MHCLG spokesperson said: “The Government has allocated more than £12bn directly to councils since the start of the pandemic, with more than £6 billion of this unringfenced, recognising that councils are best placed to deal with local issues.
“English councils’ core spending power increased from £49bn to £51.3bn between 2020 and 2022 in response to the increased pressure on local councils during the pandemic.
“In the coming months, we will take stock of the demands faced by councils and the resources available to meet them and will decide on the timetable for future funding reform.”