Herts County Council is among local authorities set to ramp up pressure on MPs ahead of a crunch vote on front-line services’ funding for 2024/25.

The County Council Network (CNN) – of which Hertfordshire is a member – has warned of “more severe” service cuts if no extra money is provided, after Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove revealed the provisional plans on Monday (December 18).

CNN vice chairman, Cllr Barry Lewis, said “we will now be making our case to county MPs” ahead of the final vote in Parliament “to ensure that they are aware of the extent to which highly valued local services will have to be cut next year unless further funding is provided”.

Hertfordshire has 10 Conservative MPs – including North East Herts' Sir Oliver Heald, Hitchin and Harpenden's Bim Afolami and Stevenage's Stephen McPartland – and one Liberal Democrat, St Albans’ Daisy Cooper, who will all be able to vote on the plans in late January.

Mr Lewis added: “With no additional funding announced, our councils will have no choice but to implement more severe reductions to services and to levy higher council tax rises.

“This will undoubtedly be a double whammy for residents during a cost of living crisis, while an increasing number of local authorities will struggle to deliver a balanced budget next year.”

Herts County Council leader, Cllr Richard Roberts, said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the provisional government financial settlement, which contains “little additional funding” and would force “tough decisions” over resources.

“With just a small uplift to our funding from government to provide services to those with special educational needs and disabilities, the county council would have been on a sounder financial footing,” he added.

According to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the provisional settlement makes almost £4 billion more available for English councils in 2024-25.

It says that is a 6.5 per cent increase compared to 2023-24 – “an above inflation rise in recognition of the pressures being faced by local authorities”.

However, the CNN says that in reality it provides no additional funding – other than what was already planned. The figures are also based on assuming all local authorities will increase their council tax precepts by the maximum permissible.

Local government minister Simon Hoare said it was “good news for our local government sector that we are presenting an above-inflation increase in funding”.

Mr Gove added: “Councils are the backbone of their communities and carry out tremendous work every day in delivering vital services to the people they serve.

“We recognise they are facing challenges and that is why we have announced a £64 billion funding package to ensure they can continue making a difference, including through our combined efforts to level up.”

There is now a four-week government consultation on the provisional settlement until January 15.