The Guildhall in Hull.

Stark warning to government over council funding

The Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Mike Ross, and the Leader of the Council’s Majority Opposition Group, Councillor Daren Hale, have warned that Hull faces a “toxic cocktail” if there is no new support from the government to help deliver vital services. 

The leaders have written jointly to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP, alongside a raft of other ministers, demanding a meeting with the government to set out how more support can be given to Hull.

The Leaders have outlined the “unprecedented challenges” the council and people of Hull face without a fair deal from the government. 

In the letter, they have urged the government to make long-term financial commitments and warn of a “cliff edge” in 2025-26 unless more cash is committed. 

Hull has faced stark cuts from the government in recent years but has always managed to deliver key services and invest in residents’ priorities. 

Now, both Leaders have warned that, in line with other councils across the country, they are approaching the “end of the road.” 

Hull City Council is supporting the Local Government Association’s #SaveLocalServices campaign, where the LGA has described councils as facing “the perfect storm”, with finances “under strain like never before.”

The LGA points out that the pressure on council budgets is “mounting with spiking inflation, high energy costs, and increases to the National Living Wage, while the demand for services continues to rise.”

The letter to Michael Gove comes ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next Wednesday and as the council gives an update on its Medium Term Financial Plan for 2024/25 to 2026/27.

In the letter, Councillors Ross and Hale say: 

“It is expected that Hull will be able to set a balanced budget and maintain vital services over the next 12 months.

“Without additional government support, this will not be the case from April by 2025 and the council will be unable to maintain the services needed to protect our most vulnerable and rightly expected by our residents.

“This frightening prospect has created a toxic cocktail for local authorities right across the country, not just here in Hull.

“Now, without national level intervention, we are facing the inevitable consequences of increasing demand, the escalating costs of service delivery and failure at a national level to adequately fund local government over the last 10-years and to distribute the available funding in line with need.

“Put starkly, without additional government support, we will not be able to support our residents with the services they need and deserve.

“Hull is facing unprecedented challenges despite a number of positive interventions and changes enacted by the council in every service area.

“While the council has worked tirelessly to balance its budget in increasingly difficult circumstances, we are reaching the end of the road.”

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