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Leading Cheshire & Warrington Leaders Board

Cheshire West and Chester LEP 04/10/2021

Proposals to the Chancellor’s forthcoming spending review

The Leaders of the Local Authorities in Cheshire and Warrington, along with the Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), this week submitted their proposals to the Chancellor’s forthcoming spending review. It sets out ambitious plans to make Cheshire and Warrington the healthiest, most sustainable, inclusive and growing part of the country. It also highlights the urgent need for the Chancellor to address the ever growing funding shortfall faced by local authorities as they help their local communities recover from the worst crisis since the Second World War.

Councillor Russ Bowden, Chair of the Leading Cheshire & Warrington Board and the Leader of Warrington Borough Council said: “Despite ten years of austerity, Local Authorities responded magnificently to Covid, deploying all of their available resources to help their communities get through the crisis. They now need the Chancellor to restore the finances of local authorities so that they can help their communities and businesses recover”

Continuing, Councillor Bowden said “local authorities are facing unprecedented demand for social care for adults and children, which we are struggling to fund from depleted budgets. We can’t afford to tackle climate change by improving the insulation in social housing and provide tenants with affordable warmth, or tackle a growing homelessness and mental health crisis.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council added: “One of the most significant financial pressures facing councils is the cost of providing good quality support for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The lack of adequate high needs funding means that many children in Cheshire and Warrington are losing out on a proper education and support they need to learn”

Councillor Sam Corcoran, Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “Covid will continue to have a long-term impact on the incomes of local authorities, whilst the increase in the cost and greater demand for services all adds to the existing pressure on public services and finances. We urge the Chancellor to take account of the impact of Covid on local government finances and to honour previous commitments that no Councils will be financially worse off as a result of tackling the pandemic”.

Concluding, Clare Hayward, Chair of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The recovery from Covid is creating huge challenges for us, including helping children to recover the learning they lost during the pandemic, filling vacancies in key sectors such as for HGV drivers, and the recent increase in gas prices that has led to the shutdown of the CF Fertiliser plant at Ince, near Ellesmere Port. It is vitally important that Local Authorities and others have the resources they need to solve these problems in order to continue as a fast growing economy.”