More funding is required to mitigate increasing pressures from social care and inflation, said Havering Council, as the government confirmed its local finance settlement for 2023/24. 

A provisional package of almost £60billion for authorities across the country was unveiled in December by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), representing a nine per cent increase on the previous year’s deal. 

Following a consultation, which ran until January 16, the government has now upped that figure by an additional £19m for all services.

For Havering, the settlement will mean its core spending power, which includes revenue from sources like council tax and retained business rates, will rise from £200.2m in 2022/23 to £218.7m for 2023/24. 

As noted in the provisional settlement, the council will also receive funding including £14.2m in social care grant, the majority (£8.5m) of which will be a rollover of the grant for 2022/23, and a revenue support grant of £1.9m, up from £1.5m the year before. 

Despite the increase, this still remains far below the £70m government funding Havering said it received in 2010/11. 

Cllr Ray Morgon, leader of Havering Council, said the administration is “pleased” that this year has seen an increase in its overall government grant by a total of £10.6m. 

However, he added: “Due to the growing numbers of adult and children who need social care support and rising inflation, government funding is falling well short of keeping pace with Havering’s pressures.

"There will be additional government funding for 2023/24, but there is uncertainty for future years, which makes planning for the future very difficult.” 

Romford Recorder: Cllr Ray MorgonCllr Ray Morgon (Image: Havering Council)

Cllr Morgon referenced the required savings outlined in the council’s budget proposals, namely the need to save £9.6m to balance next year’s budget, with £28.8m planned over the next four years.

But the remaining budget gap after 2023/24 is still forecast to be £31.1m. 

“We need the government to allocate more funding to reflect the needs of the residents of the borough, and allow us to keep more of the revenue we raise locally,” Cllr Morgon said. 

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 “We have met and written to the government about this and asked for them to review the current formula to one that better reflects the unique circumstances Havering faces.” 

In total, DLUHC said councils across England will receive an additional £5.1bn compared to 2022/23, up 9.4pc, with deprived areas in the country receiving 17pc more funding per household than the least deprived. 

In a statement, it added: “After close engagement with councils, the settlement includes £2bn in additional grant funding for adult and children’s social care for 2023/24 and a one-off funding guarantee that ensures every local authority in England will see at least a 3pc increase in core spending power before any local decisions around council tax are taken.” 

Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove said: “Every day councils across the country deliver for their communities and play a crucial role in driving forward levelling up. 

“This funding package represents an increase of over 9pc for councils on last year, ensuring a fair deal for local government that reflects the vital work councils do to provide key services on which we all rely.”