Budget 2016 and how it affects local government
 

 

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LGA responds to academy school reports

The LGA's Budget 2016 Submission

Apprenticeship reforms to cost councils £600m a year

 

 


Chancellor George Osborne delivered Budget 2016 earlier today. Find out what it means for local government.  


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7.05pm: Read the LGA's on-the-day Budget briefing


Our on-the-day briefing is a thorough assessment of the impact of today's Budget on local government. 

And with that, we will close today's live blog. Thank you for reading. 


7pm: Councils respond to extra £700 million funding for flood defences
 

Responding to the Chancellor's announcement of an extra £700 million for flood defences as part of the Budget, Cllr Peter Box, Environment spokesman at the Local Government Association, said:

"Government funding has been important in enabling local authorities and their communities to recover from the winter's flooding havoc and the additional £700 million by 2020/21 is another significant step in the right direction. However, councils will almost certainly need more financial help from the Government as the full cost of the winter's horrendous flooding damage emerges.

"Crucially, new flood defence funding must be devolved by the Government to local areas, with councils working with communities and businesses to ensure money is directed towards projects that best reflect local needs. Councils know their local areas and are best placed to help families get back on their feet."


6.50pm: LGA responds to removal of war pension 'penalty' for veterans


Responding to the announcement in the Budget that the war disablement pension for veterans will no longer be taken into account when calculating the amount they must pay towards their care costs, the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing spokeswoman, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said:

"Councils have for some time been calling for the thousands of war heroes injured in combat to be treated fairly and equally when calculating how much they need to pay towards their care. For too long this has been an unfair anomaly that has penalised our injured veterans.

"It is not right that some war veterans should be made to use the pension they were given after being injured during their dedicated service to help fund the dignified care they deserve.

"We are pleased that the Government has listened to our call for the war pension to be protected and service men and women are not forced to use it to pay for their care.

"However, this will create a new burden on councils, which the Government must fully fund. Adult social care budgets are already under enormous strain and should not be expected to absorb further costs resulting from government policy changes."


6.40pm: Councils respond to relaxation of planning rules for phone masts


Responding to the announcement in today's Budget that planning laws will be relaxed to allow taller phone masts to be built, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the Local Government Association's People and Places Board, said:

"People should be able to have their say on whether a phone mast is put up near their homes or not. Planning controls exist to give them that power and protect residents from developments that could negatively impact on their quality of life.

"Instead, relaxing planning rules in this way will mean mobile network operators being able to build huge masts, more than 50ft in height, in places where local residents and councils will have no say.


6.25pm: Councils respond to homelessness measures


Responding to new measures to tackle homelessness announced in the Budget, Cllr Peter Box, Housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said:

"It is a tragedy when anyone becomes homeless and councils have strategies in place to prevent it happening in the first place. This not only includes placing people in accommodation but also focuses on helping people develop the skills needed to find work or improving their health and wellbeing. Any additional support will help and councils must have the full funding and flexibilities to respond to local need."

Read more here


6.22pm: LGA responds to sugar levy on soft drinks


Responding to the announcement by the Chancellor that a levy will be introduced on soft drinks, the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing spokeswoman, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said:

"Councils have long called for measures to be introduced to tackle sugar content in soft drinks, which is one of many ways we can take to tackle child obesity.

"As well as being a key driver behind obesity, sugar is also a major cause of tooth decay, with a recent survey finding that 12 per cent of three-year-olds in England suffered from poor dental hygiene.

"It's time for the soft drinks industry to step up and take its share of responsibility for the child obesity crisis we face."


6pm: The LGA responds to Budget 2016


Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, says:

"It is right that the Chancellor has recognised the funding pressures facing councils and local services over the next few years and has not announced any more cuts to local government.

"Councils now need a period of financial stability and consistency so they can plan for the pressures facing local services which lie ahead over the next few years and need to be protected from any more funding cuts during this Parliament. This, alongside greater power to run local services, is essential."

Read the full statement here


1.38pm: And the Chancellor sits down 
 

A reminder that our on-the-day-briefing - assessing the implications for local government - will be published here this afternoon.

The Chancellor's Budget book has been published online.


1.30pm: Sugar tax


The Chancellor is introducing a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry - something the LGA has lobbied for. It will be levied on the companies in two years' time.

As part of the LGA's 100 Days campaign, we called for the government to help the three and a half million overweight or obese children by reinvesting a fifth of the existing VAT on soft drinks, fast food and confectionery in activity programmes. The NHS currently spends £1 million an hour on diabetes, equivalent to 10 per cent of its annual budget.

Last month, the LGA called for fizzy drinks to have child-friendly ‘teaspoon labels' to spell out sugar content.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, LGA Community Wellbeing spokesperson, said:

"In many cases, parents and children are unaware of exactly how much sugar these fizzy drinks contain, which is why we are calling on manufacturers to provide clearer, front-of-product labelling that shows how much sugar soft drinks have in teaspoons."


1.15pm: Chancellor talks of 'devolution revolution'
 

Mr Osborne says 100% of local government resources will come from their own area by the end of the Parliament. He says the Greater London Authority will move to full retention of business rates from April 2017.

Mr Osborne says East Anglia, the West of England and Lincolnshire will have elected mayors.


12.50pm: OBR forecasts


The Office for Budget Responsibility has downgraded its forecast of UK economic growth in 2015 from 2.4% to 2.2%.

Figures are also revised downwards for the following years - from 2.4% to 2% in 2016, from 2.5% to 2.2% in 2017, from 2.4% to 2.1% in 2018 and from 2.3% to 2.1% in both 2019 and 2020.


12.34pm: And the Chancellor begins his Budget speech...


12.25pm: Academies latest
 

Cllr Richard Watts will be on BBC News later discussing the impact of converting all schools to academies. You can read the LGA response to the plans here.


11.45am: Live tweets


The @LGANews twitter handle - managed by our press desk - will be live tweeting the Chancellor's Budget speech today when he stands up at 12.30pm.


11.15am: On-the-day briefing


A reminder that the LGA's on-the-day-brifing - a thorough run down of the implications of today's Budget for local government - will be published later this afternoon.


11.05am: News round-up


Unsurprisingly, the Budget dominates this morning's news headlines. Read our daily press round up.
 


10.55am: Extra powers over local services needed


Councils could boost housebuilding, increase the number of school places and reduce unemployment if they are handed extra powers to run local services in this week's Budget, town hall leaders said this week. The Local Government Association has set out a range of proposals for the Chancellor to consider as part of the Budget which would not only improve people's lives and protect the local services valued by residents but would also deliver sustainable savings to the public purse.


10.50am: How long will the Chancellor speak for?


The House of Commons has produced this infographic on the length of previous Budget speeches:


10.30am: Devolution


Greater devolution - an issue likely to feature in today's Budget - will create jobs and boost prosperity. The LGA's DevoNext hub has a wealth of information and updates. We have also produced this 60-second explainer film on devolution:


9.50am: Academy proposals
 

It has been widely reported that the government plans to convert all schools to academy status. The LGA has raised serious concerns over the move.

Cllr Roy Perry, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, said:

"Ofsted has rated 82 per cent of council maintained schools as good or outstanding, so it defies reason that councils are being portrayed as barriers to improvement. Ofsted has not only identified that improvement in secondary schools - most of which are academies - has stalled, but it has praised strong improvement in primary schools, most of which are maintained."


9.20am: Good morning...
 

...and welcome to the LGA's live coverage of today's Budget. The Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his latest update on the Government's spending plans at 12.30pm, after Prime Minister's Questions.

Between now and then, we will look at how the Budget could impact on local government.