Worthing council leader “disappointed but not surprised” by government funding announcement

Released: Thursday, 21 December 2023

The leader of Worthing Borough Council has said she is “disappointed but not surprised” by the government's 2024/25 funding settlement for the local authority.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published the details of how much each council will be given in government funds to pay for services next year.

Its published “core spending power” figure for Worthing is £14,826,895 for 2024/25, an increase of £584,405 compared to the £14,242,490 earmarked for the borough for this year.

However that increase includes the amount that we will receive from residents if we put up council tax by the maximum 3% set by the government. Only £272,574 of the increase represents extra government funding, which is the equivalent of an extra £2.44 per person in Worthing - less than it can cost to buy a sandwich.

This comes at a time when a rising number of residents need to be housed because they would otherwise be homeless, causing a significant spike in costs. More than 300 Worthing residents are currently having to be housed by us outside the area because of a shortage of available accommodation - more than double the national rate of out-of-area placements.

Currently just £1 out of every £50 spent on services by us comes from the government.

Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper, the leader of Worthing Borough Council, said:

“The government has failed to provide us with the funding we need for over a decade so I'm disappointed but not surprised that we should be so poorly supported by it again in 2024.

“We've been planning for this eventuality for several months now so although we will have to make some significant changes to the way we deliver services, we will balance the budget.

“This pathetic rise in funding does little to help us support the most vulnerable in our community, but as a council for the community we will step up again to ensure everyone in Worthing gets the services they need.”

Like every other local authority in the country, we are facing tight financial restrictions caused by a reduction in central government funding and increasing pressure outside our control from inflation and cost of living challenges. These are among the most financially difficult circumstances local government has ever experienced.

The council's cabinet is currently considering the potential options for next year's budget. It expects to need to find £2.8m in savings next year - about 7% of this year's budget.

As part of this, we are reviewing our asset portfolio, new tighter controls have been brought in on spending, fees and charges are being reviewed and savings will be made in staffing and resources.

Alongside this, there will also be a renewed drive to provide better and more efficient services for the community online, allowing residents to get information and assistance more quickly.

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Page last updated: 21 February 2024

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