Harrow Council Fails to Secure Funding Settlement
It has been revealed that Harrow Council is the only London Council and one of only 10 English councils who have failed to agree a four-year Local Government Finance Settlement after local MP, Bob Blackman, asked for clarification from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the impact this would have locally.
After the council refused to agree a long term deal on funding with the Department, Bob Blackman noted that 97 per cent of councils had agreed the settlement and asked for clarification on the impact of this failure would now mean for the future of local council tax and services in Harrow.
Sajid Javid responded, “In practice, that means that those councils will have an annual, year-by-year settlement, which will deny local people the certainty that they seek. It also means that they have not put together efficiency plans, as the other councils will have done. It is a shame that they did not accept the settlement.”
“That was entirely up to them, but it will have consequences,” he added.
Bob Blackman commented, “I find it quite shocking that Harrow Council have failed to agree a settlement which would have provided much needed certainty on council tax levels and funding for local services for local residents. We are liable to hear repeated complaints about falling funding levels in future years from the council, but it is important to remember that this is entirely as a result of failure to do what 97 per cent of other councils did successfully and agree a four-year spending plan.”
Figures released by the Department show that Harrow’s Core Spending Power of £169.5 million for 2016-17 is projected to go down to £167.7 million in 2017-18, and then £169.4 million in 2018-19, as a result of not agreeing the four-year plan and the budgetary certainty it would have provided. Instead, Harrow Council will now have to apply for funding every year, meaning it will be at risk of shortfalls based entirely on policy changes within the Department each year.