Giving a voice to urban areas
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Local Services

SIGOMA calls on the Government to:

  • Move the liveability agenda up the priority list of national and local government
  • Identify more direct sources of funding so that local authorities can create the kind of environment that will attract more investment
  • Ensure that the increasing cost pressures of waste management are met through the annual funding settlements, so that national targets on waste minimisation and recycling are reached

An attractive environment and well- managed public spaces are vital to attracting people and investment into urban areas.

Liveability, the quality of the built environment and the way that our streets and public spaces are managed by local authorities is also becoming an increasingly important part of an areas economic development strategy.

Many local authorities, especially those with smaller city or town centres, have traditionally relied on the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS) spending block to fund public investment in their local environment.

But this area of funding has consistently been the poor relation in annual local government settlements to councils, with SIGOMA areas receiving some of the poorest rises in central government grant over recent years. At the same time, local authorities in SIGOMA are also improving the way that domestic and commercial waste is managed – increasing recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste taken to landfill to meet national targets.

Although, this is a priority for urban areas, it creates significant additional costs to local authorities which have to be met through mainstream budgets. At the same time, changes to local authority funding, including the removal of education funding from local authorities, the way that social services funding has been damped back in many SIGOMA areas and the capping of Council Tax, have all conspired to generate greater pressure on a councils’ ability to improve the liveability and waste management in their area.

Whilst SIGOMA authorities are engaging with the efficiency agenda, it remains difficult to achieve further significant savings in the areas that have been squeezed year upon year.

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