London councils call for emergency funding boost to deal with cost of living crisis

·2-min read
FILE: Coins and banknotes  (PA Archive)
FILE: Coins and banknotes (PA Archive)

London local authorities have called for immediate emergency government funding to help them tackle the cost-of-living crisis ahead of Friday’s emergency ‘mini budget’.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is set to deliver the UK’s largest tax cuts in more than 30 years during Friday’s ‘fiscal event’ aimed at tackling the surging cost of living.

London Councils, a cross-party group representing the capital’s boroughs, called upon the Government for additional funding, saying they could be forced to make up to £700m in savings by next year without an uplift in funding closer to the rate of inflation.

The group said the capital’s unique challenges, including the fastest-rising rents in the UK and the country’s highest homelessness rates, meant more funding was needed to continue delivering “vital” services.

“With thousands of Londoners already struggling to make ends meet, the government has a critical opportunity to announce further help for households and the services they rely on,” said Cllr Georgia Gould, the group’s chair.

“Councils are already providing a safety net to communities and doing all they can to support people who are struggling.

“Financial support from the government for councils is crucial for continuing this work.”

Among the measures to be announced by Mr Kwarteng are scrapping the increase in national insurance of 1.25% from November 6.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (PA)
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (PA)

Scrapping the planned rise in corporation tax and removing green levies are also expected to be announced, alongside already announced substantial multi-billion pound schemes to support households and businesses from the surging cost of energy.

The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank warned the Government’s bid for growth may fall flat if wider reforms on education, planning, skills, trade and infrastructure are not pursued.

IFS researcher, Xiaowei Xu, also warned most people would still be worse off next year in real terms because of soaring inflation despite the extensive Government package.

“Even after the Government is spending vast amounts of money to protect households from the rising cost of living, most households would still see their living standards fall this year compared to last year,” he said.