Latest Public Sector News

06.10.15

Business rates decision 'creates further uncertainty'

Although there has been a widespread if cautious welcome for yesterday's announcement by chancellor George Osborne that councils are to retain the business rates they collect and have more flexibility to lower their rates, there is concern it could "just be another hit on council budgets" and foster more uncertainty.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Judith Blake, said: “We know there are more major cuts to come to local authority budgets in the comprehensive spending review, so this change will need to be put in the context of the incredibly difficult financial position local authorities are in as they look to continue providing essential services. 

"This change creates further uncertainty in terms of financial planning, and there’s also a concern that if the Revenue Support Grant is phased out quicker than the income from business rates grows, that will just be another hit on council budgets. Another outcome which needs to be avoided with this change is that it benefits better-off areas and only serves to widen the north-south economic divide.”

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) think tank, said: "We don’t want to leave councils out in the cold because of uncertainty. This process will need to be managed in a way that is fair and that gives local authorities and local people the maximum possible control over the economic destiny of their areas.

"The key question here is not how much money will these measures raise but will it be enough to cover any new responsibilities. As such, we look forward to seeing the detail of the Chancellor’s plan in the Autumn Spending Review in November.”

Darren Johnson AM, chair of the London Assembly Devolution Working Group, said: “Devolving business rates to the Mayor was a key recommendation in our cross-party report, A New Agreement for London, so this is a welcome step. However, we will need to see more detail – in particular, robust scrutiny of the process must be in place with the right checks and balances, to ensure this money is spent wisely.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Making the devolution revolution work

23/10/2017Making the devolution revolution work

It’s time we take the politics out of devolution to ensure deals are ... more >
United we stand, divided we fall

23/10/2017United we stand, divided we fall

David Pearson, Nottinghamshire County Council’s corporate director of... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Bus... more >

the raven's daily blog

Tower Hamlets taking steps to reverse the decline of LGBT+ venues

16/10/2017Tower Hamlets taking steps to reverse the decline of LGBT+ venues

Tower Hamlets council has recently confirmed that the former site of a popular gay bar, the Joiners Arms, must include an LGBT+ club for the next 25 years. Many people wi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides a fascinating analysis of the campaign, and assesses the aftermath of the election on pages 26-28. It is a must-read article.  During the... read more >