We welcome the news that the government has finally responded to further requests for financial support from local authorities. But the devil will be in the detail.
Thursday's announcement indicates that the repeated lobbying efforts from Lib Dem-run B&NES Council is starting to pay off.
Indeed, by covering 75p on every £1 of lost income and allowing council and business rates tax deficits to be repaid over three years instead of one, the deal recognises councils like B&NES who are suffering through lost income rather than through overspending.
However, £500m of additional support is a drop in the ocean, covering less than 5% of the total £10.9bn funding gap faced by local authorities across the country. The deal seems more like another hollow gesture than a meaningful package of support.
The failure of the government to guarantee that this funding gap will be covered has caused a great deal of uncertainty for local councils. Many councils, such as Lib Dem-run B&NES, are already proactively putting measures in place to secure their finances in the absence of any meaningful assurances from the government.
The news today is a step in the right direction. But government needs to do much more to show that it’s honouring the commitment it made in April to support local councils.