Ahead of the King’s Speech, SIGOMA, (the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities representing 47 urban authorities in the northern, midlands and south-coast regions of England) and Key Cities (a national network of 28 cities across England and Wales, representing around 10% of the country’s population and contributing £150bn to the UK economy) have written to the Prime Minister.
The letter urges the Government to put the much-needed urgent reforms to our transport systems, housing strategy, clean energy agenda and the local government finance system at the heart of the upcoming King’s Speech in order to help urban councils up and down the country better serve their communities, or they risk reaching breaking point.
Sigoma is deeply concerned that the financial situation for many of our councils is reaching breaking point. Six councils have already issued Section 114 notices since 2020, while a recent survey by SIGOMA found that 30 per cent of their 47 members felt they might face this decision by next year.
The situation seems even more severe following the recent news that one in 10 county councils in England are also facing S114 – putting vital services at risk in potentially hundreds of UK councils. Councils across England are suffering due to the combination of inflationary pressures, increased demand for services such as children’s services, and previous cuts to budgets.
As we head towards the next election, the King’s Speech is one of the final opportunities for this Government to set out its vision over the next year, picking out key themes and commitments it can provide and prioritise in the run-up to the next election, said the organisation.