Local government is the front line of our country's democracy, and local authorities deserve the resources they need to do their job in delivering public services. That is why I welcomed the recent Local Government Finance Settlement, which provides two years of real terms increases in resources available to local authorities across England.
At the budget it was announced that Councils will benefit from an additional £1 billion of funding. Crucially we will support councils with £650 million for social care, £84 million for children’s social care programmes over five years and £420 million for potholes this year. I know that many residents in North Warwickshire and Bedworth will welcome this.
The recent settlement for the 2018-19 financial year is the third year of a four year offer which was accepted by 97 per cent of councils in return for publishing efficiency plans. For 2018-19, core spending power for local authorities across England will total £45.1 billion, up from £44.3 billion in 2017-18. I welcome that core spending power for English local authorities will increase again in the next financial year, up to £45.6 billion.
The latest settlement has again prevented local authorities from introducing excessive increases in council tax without first securing the backing of local residents in a referendum. Since being introduced in 2012, referendum principles have helped keep council tax down, with average council tax in England for the current 2018-19 financial year forecast to be 1.4 per cent lower in real terms than in 2010-11, measured against CPI.
I am sure that you will also welcome the Government’s committment to ensuring that all local authorities retain 75 per cent of their business rates from the 2020-21 financial year, granting councils the levers and incentives they need to grow their local economies.