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District councils to lose out in funding switch

Revenue support grants (RSG) from Whitehall for district councils, which carry out household waste collections across much of England, is to be cut by more than a quarter in 2016-17 while counties will get a 8% boost under major changes to the way funding is distributed.

The local government finance settlement consultation has confirmed the Government’s intention to apply cuts based on a council’s core spending made up of RSG, council tax and business rates.

Figures published alongside the consultation show that central funding through RSG will fall nationally from £9.5bn to £7.2bn next year. Of this, the amount available to upper tier authorities (counties) will increase from £5.3bn to £5.7bn while the amount available for lower tier services will fall from £1.3bn to £0.9bn.

This will mean greater cuts for districts, while the County Councils Network said its members would see an “average increase” during the Parliament. The move is prompted by ministers’ decision to put more money into social care.

The consultation document said: “For 2016-17, the Government proposes to allocate central funding in a way that ensures councils delivering the same set of services receive the same percentage change in settlement core funding for those sets of services.”

Fifteen district councils will lose their RSG in entirety in 2017-18: Bromsgrove, Chiltern, East Dorset, Elmbridge, Epsom & Ewell, Maidstone, Mole Valley, North Hertfordshire, Reigate & Banstead, Sevenoaks, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Tonbridge & Malling and Woking.

The first county councils to lose their RSG in 2018-19 are Buckinghamshire and Dorset.

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