LOCAL authorities are calling for a “significant injection of funding” from the government, after a recent report showed that councils across the country could be facing a £51.8 billion funding black hole over the next six years.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) and Southampton City Council (SCC) are asking certaininty over the funding they will receive from government in the future.

This comes after a report published by the County Councils Network (CCN) revealed that only “bare minimum” services will be possible in the future unless extra funding is provided.

CCN, which represents county and unitary authorities across the country, warned that in some cases even yearly council tax rises and making services more efficient will not be anough to plug the gap.

The government said councils will have access to £46.4 billion this year.

But civic chiefs are now calling for clarity.

Cllr Chris Hammond, leader of SCC, said the authority has had £136.4 million cut over the past seven years.

“After eight years of unnecessary austerity, it’s about time that we’re given some certainty about funding. Nearly one year after the Prime Minister promised that austerity is over, we’re still told to make more cuts. Sadly, we’ll be living with the consequences for generations to come,” he said.

As reported, HCC had to cut £140m by 2019 and will have to cut £80m by 2021.

The newly-elected council leader Keith Mans said he was at the CCN network when the new findings were announced and said he stressed the need for funding especially for social care and infrastructure.

“I support the findings of the review. It is time we see central government recognise the needs of local government, particularly for the services that have been delegated to us to provide for central government,”he added.

In a statement HCC said it fully backs the County Councils Network in calling now for a significant injection of funding into the system in the Spending Review expected later this year.

Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, said: “If government does not provide additional funding for councils over the medium term, many local authorities will resort to providing the bare minimum, with many vital services all but disappearing, particularly preventative services. Even these draconian cuts won’t be enough for many well-run councils to balance the books and it will leave our finances in disarray with many of us struggling to deliver even the basic level of local services.”

A Goverment spokesperson said: “Local authorities will have access to £46.4 billion this year, a real terms increase that will strengthen services, support local communities and help councils meet the needs of their residents.

“The Government will be looking at funding for services as part of the Spending Review.”