UK Policy Briefings
Spring Budget 2021: Local government, gender and Covid-19
Date Posted: Monday 1st March 2021
- Women and girls rely disproportionately on services provided by local authorities because they do the majority of unpaid care work and therefore rely on local services to support themselves and their families.
- Women make up 75% of local government and school workers.
- Women – particularly BAME and disabled women – have had their lives detrimentally harmed by funding cuts to local government since 2010 which amount to 49% cuts in budget in real terms.
- Prior to the pandemic, local services were facing a funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025.
- Total coronavirus costs to councils have been significant. The most recent estimates put the financial impact of Covid-19 on local authorities at £9.7 billion for 2020/21, with a further £2.8 billion in lost income from council and business tax.
- The Government promised councils that they would be reimbursed for ‘whatever it takes’ to respond to the coronavirus but so far councils have only been promised 75% of irrecoverable income from taxes and some of their lost fees and charges.
- Local authorities are facing a funding gap of £5.3 billion from direct EU funding that hasn’t yet been replaced by UK central government funding.
- The 2021-2022 Funding Settlement for Local Government announced in February 2021 represents a 4.5% – £2.2 billion – increase in core funding, but just 15% – £0.3 billion – of that is from central Government. After inflation and population growth, the settlement represents a 3% per capita funding cut compared to 2015-2016.
- Government should urgently bring forward its long-promised Fair Funding Review and a sustainable, long term plan for funding local authorities at a level which enables them to meet their statutory duties and provide the local services which women and local communities rely on. Proposals to remove central government funding and replace this with local business rates will hit the poorest local authorities hardest.