Nearly all councils are planning to increase council tax from April as 80 per cent of them fear for their balance sheets, according to a 2018 State of Local Government Finance research.
While council tax is planned to rise in 95 per cent of councils, 93 per cent will hike service fees, the survey conducted by the LGiU think tank and The Municipal Journal found. This means that households will also have to pay more for services like parking permits, councils have warned.
Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU, said: “Councils are on the edge. They are for the most part holding services together (though a significant minority are not). But they can only do this this by raising council tax, increasing charging and draining their reserves.
“The system is unsustainable and needs far more fundamental reform than is presently on offer. It’s simply not acceptable that we don’t know how local government will work post 2020.
“Councils are calling for assurances around funding for the next three years and for a fundamental redesign of the finance system. At present government is offering neither. That has to change.”
A total of 113 individual councils responded to the survey, representing a third of all English local authorities.
The greatest immediate pressure on budgets came in children’s services (nearly 32 per cent of councils), followed by adult social care (nearly 28 per cent), and housing and homelessness (19 per cent).