A summary of the key announcements for local government.
The 2015 Spending Review (‘Spending Review') and Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2016/17 ('Settlement') set the course for important changes to the funding and delivery of our public services over the next Parliament. The Government forecasts the resources available for council services to be broadly similar in 2019/20 as it is today, with revenue support grant reducing sharply (27%, or £2.6 billion in 2016/17 alone) and councils increasing their council tax income significantly to compensate for this by the end of the decade.
Reforms to the allocation of central government grant and rising cost pressures on local government will impact on the delivery of local public services. Even with the same amount of money to spend in four years' time pressures on spending will need to be funded by councils finding savings elsewhere.
Proposals to provide local government with longer term financial settlements, devolve powers for business rates and give councils more flexibility in setting their council tax shows government has listened to calls from the Local Government Association (LGA) and councils. Recent announcements also confirm that the devolution of power from central to local government is an important part of public service reform for this administration. The ultimate goal must be to continue to recognise the important role of councils in saving money to the public purse through preventative services rather than expensive acute interventions and driving economic growth, to secure further fiscal devolution and the localisation of revenue from existing national taxes, and to deliver high quality services that people need.
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