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Under pressure: What do Covid-19 and social care reforms mean for local government?


The upcoming Spending Review follows a decade of austerity and unprecedented new financial pressures and service responsibilities for councils as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has pushed up councils' spending and reduced their local revenues, with the UK and devolved governments having had to provide substantial top-ups to councils' grant funding over the last 18 months to help them weather this storm. Some of these pressures are likely to persist into the medium-term, and will come on top of underlying increases in the demand for and cost of council-provided services. And a range of reforms to councils' funding arrangements and responsibilities are set to take effect over the next few years - or should be considered by the UK and devolved governments.

At this IFS briefing, chaired by the MJ's Heather Jameson, we will discuss:

  • How the COVID-19 crisis has affected councils’ finances in England and Wales;
  • The medium-term outlook for council funding in England and Wales;
  • The issues the government needs to consider with forthcoming reforms to the council funding system; and
  • What social care reforms may mean for councils' finances.

This marks the launch of our new IFS Green Budget chapter on councils' finances, which has been produced with funding from the Nuffield Foundation and in association with Citi.

Speakers include:

  • Kate Ogden IFS
  • David Phillips, IFS
  • Joanne Pitt, CIPFA
  • Cian Sion, Cardiff University

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