SEC Responds to PAC Inquiry on Levelling Up Funding

Thursday, 18 January, 2024

South East Councils (SEC) has responded to the Public Accounts Committee‘s (PAC) inquiry:

“Levelling up funding to local government”.

The consultation considers the Government’s £9.5bn in levelling up funding, in support of over 4,000 local projects, to be spent by 31 March 2026 – with a further billion pounds in funding yet to be awarded.

SEC Chair Cllr Nick Adams-King said:

“Any council would welcome much needed funding to level up left behind areas in the South East.

However, the means by which levelling up funding is allocated to local government in England is counterproductive.

The South East of England is frequently seen as a wealthy land of green pastures lacking financial woes.

The reality is that councils here are under more pressure than ever to deliver high quality services in a region with a high average cost of living, eye watering house prices, and significant pockets of deprivation.

The whole system of “beauty contest bidding” in levelling up funding is bad for local government.

It contributes to a “begging bowl culture” where councils are required to spend too much time and money to meet the ever-changing demands of Ministers, rather than plan for the long-term to truly deliver for their communities.

We will say it once again; it’s time to recognise that the funding model for English Local Government is broken.
The answer is devolution of fiscal powers and responsibilities to councils to govern from the bottom-up, not more micromanagement from Whitehall.”

Our full response to this consultation can be accessed here.

Two men in a meeting | Councils in Partnership - South East Councils