Thursday 10 January 2019 / 8:41 PM Local Government

Andrew Gwynne responds to NAO concerns about council and NHS budgets

Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, responding to the National Audit Office’s report revealing weaknesses in the budgets of councils, NHS bodies and police and fire authorities, said:

“This report needs to be a wake up call for the Government to the serious financial pressures facing councils.

“When the coalition abolished the Audit Commission, we were told that concerned private citizens – ‘arm-chair auditors’ – would keep budgets in check. Instead of leading to greater scrutiny, this experiment in public finance allowed has led to a lack of oversight – allowing the failures of Tory-run Northamptonshire to go unaddressed before they faced financial disaster.

“Unless we see a radical change in direction, there is a real risk that more councils could follow Northamptonshire over the brink. We urgently need sustainable funding for local government, and a Labour Government that will put an end to this crisis.”