The way local government is funded is overly complex, lacks transparency and is out of date. We welcome this much needed reform, which must be the first step in establishing a more responsive and sustainable local government finance system.
We recognise that this consultation focusses purely on the relative needs assessment, but that resource equalisation and how to transition to the new funding baselines are arguably just as important. We look forward to commenting on any further technical papers that the Government plans to publish in the spring.
This response firstly outlines general comments regarding the Fair Funding Review, followed by detailed answers to the specific consultation questions in relation to the relative needs assessment.
In summary, our general comments:
- raise concerns regarding the overall quantum of funding which the Review will seek to distribute;
- outline our views on the key principles of the review;
- outline what we see as the key priorities in driving needs assessment, namely:
- Population growth
- Area costs
- call for the Government to confirm the balance between the foundation formula and service-specific formulae as soon as possible;
- raise concerns regarding the evidence for, and the potential multiple counting of, rurality;
- propose that housing services should have a specific formula
- call for specific formulae to recognise the costs of those with No Recourse to Public Funds and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children; and
- raise concerns about the resourcing and timing of the implementation of the Review.