Government plans to protect councils from rising energy costs will provide some welcome respite for district councils, the District Councils’ Network (DCN) has said.
However, the DCN has warned that the Energy Bill Relief Scheme will only tackle one element of the inflationary pressures its members face and councils will still face big budget pressures this financial year and next.
Cllr Sharon Taylor, Vice Chair of the DCN, said:
“District councils have been reeling from the impact of inflation so it was vital and necessary that the Government moved to support us. We therefore welcome today’s announcement on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.
“Protection from the highest rises will be particularly welcome for district councils which operate leisure centres in-house or whose leisure operators have been struggling with the huge increases in bills.
“However, it is important to remember that today’s announcement only applies to one aspect of the rising costs district councils face.
“The impact of rising pay pressure and wider price inflation dwarfs that of energy on districts’ budgets. Many district councils will still face severe budget pressures over the next two years. These threaten their ability to operate the services which help to tackle the cost-of-living impact for their residents and upon which their communities depend.
“Having offered us this welcome support today we now look forward to working with ministers to address the other aspects of the financial pressures district councils face to ensure our services remain sustainable and our communities are fully supported in these challenging times.”