Council leaders in West Yorkshire make last ditch appeal to Government for funding to support families struggling though cost of living crisis
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A letter signed by more than 70 Labour council leaders and elected Mayors, published ahead of the Government’s Autumn Statement tomorrow (November 17), says councils are stepping up support.
But they badly need financial help say the council leaders, including Calderdale’s Tim Swift, Leeds City Council’s James Lewis, Kirklees’ Shabir Pandor and Bradford’s Susan Hinchcliffe.
Councils should find out what funding arrangements are soon.
The Labour statement says the cost of living crisis is weighing heavily on people and many are turning to their councils for help and support, including providing hot meals and offering warm spaces to those who cannot afford to heat their homes.
People who had been donating to food banks were now using them, says the statement.
However the energy crisis, soaring inflation, National Living Wage increases and rising demand for services has put councils under “huge financial pressure” with a widening gap on funding they are receiving and the amount they can spend on local services, it says.
“The critical services that councils run are in dire need of investment and without further financial support lives will be at risk…without immediate action councils will need to make increasingly difficult financial decisions about the services we will have to reduce or stop altogether,” says the letter.
The statement accuses the Government of mismanaging the economy and says people should not have to pay the price.
It has been suggested the Government will allow councils to raise Council Tax by more than currently allowed without a local referendum.
But the letter says: “Raising Council Tax is not the solution.
“Increasing the burden on households who are already struggling is not only unfair but will also provide nowhere near the amount of funding councils need to keep basic services running.
“We are calling for urgent funding for councils so that we can deliver front line services, respond to the cost of living crisis and ensure that our most vulnerable residents are offered the support they need.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt will present his Autumn Statement to Parliament tomorrow.