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CIPFA’s response to Public Accounts Committee Report

11-02-2019

Responding to the findings of the Public Accounts Committee on council finances, CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman said:

“Today’s report from the Public Accounts Committee reiterates CIPFA’s repeated calls for the government to enter into meaningful engagement with the local government sector to seek genuine long-term, sustainable solutions. It is widely accepted that the current funding model for local authorities is no longer viable, and without bold policy solutions vital public services will continue to be eroded in order to balance the budget.

“Whether we look to adult or children’s social care, for example the numbers of looked-after children, we see increasing demand for council services. We should all share the concern that if current trends are allowed to continue, it will be some of the most vulnerable in society who will be missing out on services and experiencing worsening outcomes as a result.

While CIPFA’s Financial Resilience Index shows that in the short term the majority of councils are in a financially stable position by making cuts that they think are necessary to balance the books, there is an evident tail of around 10-15% of local authorities which are showing signs of risk to their financial sustainability. And beyond the short term government should not be complacent that a larger proportion of councils will be challenged to balance their budget, not least from the public seeing fewer services being delivered. 

“Our Performance Tracker with IfG across all of government activity shows that when cuts are initially too deep, for example in the prison service or social services, it is ultimately more expensive to reinstate funding at a later date after services have failed.”

ENDS

For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on 020 7543 5787 or email letreis.lawrence@cipfa.org 

About CIPFA

CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.