Cumberland Council has successfully applied for central government funding to help pay for day-to-day services as local authorities across the UK struggle to cope.

The Local Government Information Unit, a non-profit think-tank, reported that nearly 20 local councils have applied for ‘exceptional financial support’ (EFS).

Last week it surveyed councils and reported 51 per cent warned they’re likely to go bankrupt in the next parliament unless local government funding is reformed, with nine per cent of respondents saying they were likely to declare effective bankruptcy in the next financial year.

In a report last week, it was revealed that several councils applied for the funding but were told that any agreement wouldn’t come in terms of funding but permission to borrow and sell assets.

Cumberland’s executive member with responsibility for financial planning and assets Barbara Cannon said the funding will help transform services, and means they can now use up to £41.23million through a ‘capitalisation direction’ which will also cover additional costs associated with bringing services together after local government reorganisation (LGR) which were predicted in business cases.

Cllr Cannon said the council has, since its inception on April 1 last year, developed a strong plan to maximise on opportunities available to unitary authorities to develop a modern, more effective, and efficient organisation, including developing an ‘early help culture, taking a more preventative approach to issues before they escalate’.

This process will result in additional costs as it invests in this way, hence the EFS application which she said gives the council ‘space and time to manage’ the process more efficiently.

Furthermore, an independent panel to oversee progress on these plans has been established, Cllr Cannon said.

She added that tis announcement ‘shows that the government has recognised the true cost of local government reorganisation’.

Westmorland and Furness Council had announced earlier that it too has spent a lot of time focusing on ‘stabilisation and the need to get our basics right’ - as Andrew Jarvis, the council’s cabinet member for finance said.

He said the council has started to ‘deliver on the ambitions’ it set out it its plan to improve conditions to work and life, but added: “The cost of living continued to be a concern and inflation, although settling, is still uncertain and is driving up the cost of delivering services to those who need them most.”

Demand for council services continues to rise, he said, contributing to ‘ongoing uncertainty’ about future central government funding, a concern shared with councils nationwide.

Westmorland and Furness Council’s 2024/25 budget was agreed, and having planned to draw on revenue reserved for the coming year it has not requested EFS.

“As we look ahead we will need to change the way we work if we are to continue delivering efficient and effective services to our communities while securing our long-term financial sustainability and this may include the disposal of any surplus assets which we no longer require,” Cllr Jarvis concluded.