Julia Lopez MP has been told by Communities Secretary, Michael Gove, that Havering’s coffers will be boosted as part of a £600 million funding uplift for councils.
The Hornchurch & Upminster MP welcomed the news after meeting Ministers on the Council’s behalf to push for more central government cash. Inflation and increased demand for social care and children’s services have been putting Havering’s budget under strain and Mrs Lopez has been setting out some of the challenges this has been creating locally.
Earlier this month, she met Local Government Minister, Simon Hoare, to set out budget pressures on the borough and her concerns about any knock-on impact on local ratepayers. Her meeting with Mr Hoare came after a previous ministerial meeting with Havering’s Chief Executive and Council Leader, Cllr Ray Morgon. She also made personal calls to Mr Gove and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Laura Trott, to push Havering’s case.
Mr Gove has now announced a £600 million funding package for councils of which £500 million has been set aside to expand the Social Care Grant. This comes on top of December’s funding settlement and will see over £64.7 billion made available in 2024-25 for councils under the Local Government Finance Settlement - an increase of 7.5% in cash terms on 2023-24.
Speaking about the news, Mrs Lopez said, ‘I am really glad to see my calls heeded by Ministers and extra cash delivered to Havering, with a particular focus on alleviating social care pressures. I am now engaging with Ministers to understand the exact proportion of this boost that will be set aside for Havering before the final settlement is published next month. In the meantime, these proposals will provide councils with the support they need, ensuring stability and delivering extra resource to address the most acute pressures. Alongside that, the government will also be holding councils to account to make sure they are providing proper value for money and efficient service delivery best geared to residents’ needs’.