Michael Gove is pressing the Treasury for “adequate funding” for local councils, the veteran cabinet minister has said.
Speaking at a local government conference on Monday, the Communities Secretary said he was “doing his best to strengthen the Treasury and Number 10 some of the particular challenges facing local government”.
Ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement on Wednesday, local councils are pushing for more funding to tackle a variety of pressures including social care, children's services and temporary housing.
On Monday, councils and charities wrote to Jeremy Hunt saying it was “vital” he uses Wednesday's announcement to provide more money for children's services before they are “pushed to the brink”.
While Mr Gove said he was unable to reveal what the autumn statement contained, he told the County Council Network conference on Monday that he recognized the need for local government to be adequately resourced.
He said: “The cases I am making to other government colleagues are on the basis that local government can deliver, local government is ready to reform, but local government also needs the resources to be able to make that reform work effectively. ».
Referring to the need for welfare reform, he added: “Ultimately a change in attitude and a change in delivery has to be accompanied by proper funding and that is one of the key cases I have made.”
Financial pressures have seen a number of local authorities effectively declare bankruptcy in recent years, including Woking, Thurrock, Birmingham and Croydon, while others have warned they may have to take similar action soon.
Mr Gove said the recent cases involved “failures to manage the system, often going back many years”, but acknowledged that other “well-run and well-run” local authorities are being forced to make “very difficult decisions”.
He said: “My view is that we need to ensure that there is an approach to local government funding that appreciates these pressures, but also an approach to local government that champions what is going well and anticipates where the problems are and allows for intervention earlier. “