Stories about the underfunding of local authorities in the UK are not rare at the moment. However, two leading players in local government have called on councils to ‘stop lying’ about the dramatic pressures they are facing.
The usual story that plays out in the news is that local authorities are calling for more funding, whereas central government says they are providing councils with all the money they need. In a twist on the expected narrative, Martin Reeves, chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy have called for a sector-wide debate on the future of local government, in which local government acknowledges that transformation cannot solve the massive underfunding problem it faces.
Mr Reeves claimed the sector’s denial of the financial picture was tantamount to lying.
He said: ‘Let’s expose some of those myths out there about alleged solutions to those problems when what is staring us in the face is the underfunding.’