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Cambridgeshire County Council Leaders react to Autumn Statement

23 November 2023

Following yesterday’s Autumn statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, Cambridgeshire County Council leaders have expressed disappointment about the lack of any additional funding for local government.

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council said: “The failure to address the funding crisis faced by the whole local government sector, caused by rising levels of inflation and spiralling need, in yesterday’s Autumn Statement is disappointing for all County Councils.

“While we welcome an increase in the national minimum wage, as people on the lowest wages have been affected most by the cost-of-living crisis, this will make setting our budget this year even more difficult. Councils like Cambridgeshire have been underfunded for many years by central government, and central government are again asking for more growth without recognising the costs that brings in the need to provide more schools and more care for our growing older population.”

“A previously announced £2.3million, over the next two years for highways improvements in Cambridgeshire is helpful, but it’s a drop in the ocean of the need for investment in our highways network. Soaring inflation in highway maintenance costs, alongside the impact of climate change on our 4500 miles of roads, 37% of which are affected by peat damage due to extreme weather events, have left us with a huge challenge to simply stand still on keeping our roads safe. Like the Local Government Association said over the weekend, we need highways funding to be over a minimum of five years – as has been offered to National Highways.” She added.

“We’re firmly on the side of our residents and remain committed to bringing forward proposals in our budget next month which focus on those who are in greatest need, and which consider some of the key areas that were highlighted to us in our Quality of Life survey this year – such as improvements to our highways, mental health support – particularly for younger people, tackle the climate emergency and support those most affected by the current cost of living crisis.” said Cllr Elisa Meschini, deputy leader of the council.

“The cost-of-living crisis means it’s costing us far more today to do the same things we were doing just a few months ago. This at a time when more and more people than ever need our help. We’ve already seen applications to our household support fund reach their highest ever levels this summer, compared to the same time last year.” confirmed Cllr Tom Sanderson, Leader of the Independent group on the council, and chair of the Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee.

Proposals for Cambridgeshire County Council’s 2024/5 budget and five-year business plan are set to be presented to its Strategy, Resources and Performance Committee on 19 December, the same day the Government is likely to unveil the full detail of its Local Government Financial Settlement.