LGA On-the-day briefing: Budget 2015
- Between the Government's first Budget in 2010 and the end of the next financial year local authorities will have seen core funding from central government reduced by 40 per cent. It is now more important than ever for the next government to look at the way public services are funded and delivered in order to guarantee sustainability.
- The announcements on greater powers for Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire are a welcome initial step. Devolution of powers and funding is an important step in aligning decision-making with the people affected by decisions. The process must now be extended and accelerated across the country.
- The announcement of a review of the future structure of business rates, which the LGA has been calling for, is vital. It provides an ideal opportunity for central government to create a more effective local tax, where rates and discounts are set locally so that councils have increased freedoms to support small firms and encourage further local economic growth.
- It is disappointing that the Chancellor has not addressed adult social care funding, which is an important area that requires immediate attention. This will be a priority for whoever takes power post May 2015, and funding for adult social care should be given the same protection as NHS funding. Investing money in the NHS while forcing councils to cut their social care budgets merely moves the problem to the NHS.
- The announcement of the National Housing Institute and further measures to support first time buyers to purchase new homes are an important step in tackling the overall shortage in housing supply. Councils must now be given a lead role in future work on delivering homes, including giving them extra powers and flexibility.
26 February 2016