An increasing number of local councils is facing the prospect of issuing Section 114 notices: a statutory requirement to make their impending bankruptcy publicly known. This has come about as a result of virus pressures on their spending and greatly increased demands for care and support services coupled with much reduced income from council tax, business rates and from fees and charges.
Birmingham, Cumbria, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Tameside, Trafford, Windsor and Maidenhead have all indicated that they are in similar predicaments, while they hope for more central government support. Manchester City Council’s Deputy CE predicts that ‘The impact of coronavirus on the local authority’s budget would be felt over the next three to five years’.
Local authority funding had already been cut by 49.1% from 2010-11 to 2017-18. Some councils are now spending 66% of their total revenue budget on adult social care. The current collective shortfall of £3.7bn implies further spending freezes which will impact on councils’ ability to deal with the continuing crisis and imperils statutory services. This will deepen pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in the community and put existing older people’s services at great risk.