Editor: On 4 July, the Local Government Association released some analysis, timed to coincide with its annual conference, showing that local authorities across England were facing a £2bn funding gap in the coming year due to continued high inflation.

Most starkly, the analysis only relates to the funding required to maintain services at their current levels and does not take into account continued cost pressures in key areas such as adult and children’s social care, which for unitary councils are the biggest areas of spending. To offset these cost pressures, and avoid drifting into effective bankruptcy, it is clear that further major savings will have to be made to mitigate the impacts of rising inflation and demand for social services.

Given planning departments are already under great stress through a chronic lack of resourcing, there is a clear and present danger that the delivery of new homes and associated infrastructure will be further undermined as resources continue to be shifted from place to people services.

This was a point acknowledged by housing secretary Michael Gove at the same conference when he stated that “if the planning system is to work it needs more resource, more expertise and more planners”. We entirely agree that part of the problem with the planning system is a chronic lack of resource at local planning authority level in many areas.

So in addition to reform, it is vital that further savings do not come at the expense of more homes and supporting infrastructure. The areas of service that can get councils back on the front foot should not be paired back. If we are serious about tackling the housing shortage, we must be serious about making the investment at the local level to ensure we have a planning system able to operate effectively.

Nick Cuff, chief commercial officer, Pocket Living