‘Put pressure on government’ for more council money says Leeds leader

The leader of Leeds City Council has called on politicians from all parties to put more pressure on the government ahead of next week’s Local Government Association (LGA) conference.

Judith Blake believes pressure should be put on central government over funding for local authorities.

Coun Judith Blake (Lab) made the comments at a meeting of the council’s executive committee, when she claimed the lack of direction and certainty on future council funding from central government was “incredibly destabilising” for local authorities.

The LGA conference takes place in Bournemouth from July 2-4, and will attract representatives from councils across the country. Speakers include Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire and Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney.

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Coun Blake said: “We have the conference next week – I think we need to work on a cross-party basis to say just how unacceptable the situation we find ourselves in local government actually is.

Judith Blake believes pressure should be put on central government over funding for local authorities.

“We are heading into July with absolutely no certainty over what is going to unfold over the future financing of local government, and it’s not acceptable and incredibly destabilising for all of us.

“It’s somewhere where the local government, cross-party can really come together and put pressure on those in government.”

The comments came the same week as the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services released an annual report calling for a long-term solution for the future of social care funding, claiming the government’s focus on short-term funding was damaging.

A question had been asked by the leader of Leeds Liberal Democrats, Coun Stewart Golton, about why £10m was put in reserve for adult social care services and how much of this was associated with future plans.

Deputy leader of Leeds City Council James Lewis said: “One of the challenges around adult social care funding is that we allocate a base budget to it, but some of the streams of money that we have are made available in one year and are put into an earmarked reserve and spent across the years as it is meant to be.

“Without any understanding of the government’s future intention on adult social care, but to try and keep the services going and get that consistency, sometimes money is put aside to be spent in future years.”