Councils face funding crisis as government steps up its policy of pissing in the wind

UK Politics
Councils face funding crisis as government steps up its policy of pissing in the wind

Councils in England and Wales have warned they are ‘completely in the dark’ about how much money they will get from central government next year.

Civil servants have said this is ‘great news’ and that it proves the government’s policy of pissing in the wind ‘keeps people on their toes’.

Pissing in the wind was adopted as formal policy following the shock result in the 2016 referendum and is seen as a huge PR success story for British politics. Policy Committee spokesman Bob Bobson said, ‘We used to get a bit of interest for a general election. But Brexit has captured the public imagination like nothing before and we’re keen to apply the same we-don’t-really-know approach to other areas of policy.’

The Local Government Authority say more than 90 of its members fear they will have insufficient money to meet their legal obligations within five years.

‘And that’s what keeps things interesting.’ Said Mr Bobson. ‘That’s what keeps MP’s on TV – how else are they supposed to sell their books or get a spot on Strictly Come Ice Dancing in the Sun?’

The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government said total funding for local authorities had gone up this year but nearly 50 councils said they may not be able to fund services such as care for the elderly, shelter for homeless people, bin collections and libraries by 2022-3.

A spokesman said ‘some more’ money might be allocated with ‘a bit extra’ to be made available ‘later’ but that ‘in the event they can’t fulfil their commitments, councils should consider employing spin doctors’.

In 2016, councils agreed a four-year financial settlement with the government, giving them greater financial freedom in return for shouldering more responsibility for care provision and hitting efficiency targets.

Despite their initial scepticism many councils were won over when the government paid to have ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be self-sufficient by 2020’ written on the side of the 113 to Oxford Circus.

That has failed to happen, and local councils say the funding they get has dropped by 49% in real terms since 2010. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said ministers recognise the financial pressure on councils,

but that they just find it really difficult to give a shit about people who aren’t them.

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