Latest Public Sector News


‘Annual scorecard’ for council finance outlines funding options post-2020

Reformed business rates, more flexible council taxation, and exploring new ways of allowing councils to access funds are amongst future plans for the LGiU’s annual scorecard.

Released today, the think tank launched the ‘Local Finance Scorecard’ to kickstart the wider debate on pathways for local government finance and funding post-2020.

The LGiU outlined five key areas which will be on local council’s agenda in the coming year: re-evaluating the devolution of money and responsibility from Whitehall to local government; reforming business rates for the 21st century, including allowing councils to set their own business rates; and making council tax “fit for the future” through repurposing the process with Land Value Tax.

In addition, the think tank highlighted funding sources such as municipal bonds, loosening borrowing rules for councils, and multi-year budgets as part of its fourth key area for council finance structure in the upcoming years.

Other local taxation areas such as tourism tax, local VAT, and local income tax will be prominent areas of discussion for the LGiU following the establishment of the Local Finance Taskforce — the LGiU’s financial watchdog — in February.

The scorecard sees the launch of the LGiU’s Local Finance Taskforce consultation on funding options post-2020 as the think tank calls for the debate to be broadened across government and amongst key stakeholders.

Jonathan Carr-West, its chief executive, said: “Confidence in the local government finance system is low. Every year we survey council leaders, chief executives, cabinet members for finance and chief finance officers. In 2018, eight out of 10 of them told us that the local government finance system in its current form was unsustainable.

“Important changes are happening. Business rate retention and the Fairer Funding Review are significant steps towards reforming local government finance; but we believe that to achieve a sustainable system we need a much broader and more radical conversation post 2020.”

Over the summer and autumn, the Local Finance Taskforce will be engaging with LGiU’s 200 member councils and other stakeholders through regional roundtables and events to refine and deepen this thinking, with a final report and set of recommendations produced ahead of the Autumn Budget.

The news of the scorecard comes after CIPFA’s suggestion to create an index aimed at measuring councils’ financial viability last week.

The move was criticised by bosses from the County Councils Network and the Association of County Chief Executives, who warned that well-intended proposals from CIPFA to create the ‘traffic-light’ ranking of local government financial health would be used as a “blunt instrument” instead.

Local government’s wrangle with finances has been a prevalent feature in the news for several months. In June, reports surfaced that councils had made at least 486 agreements to share services with other councils in the past seven years to cut costs in times of austerity.

Earlier this month, communities secretary James Brokenshire failed to make firm commitments to lobby the chancellor for more money in the upcoming Spending Review.

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: ShaunWilkinson, iStock Images


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


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


The digital buying community is live

12/11/2018The digital buying community is live

Many of the requirements from buyers posted on the Digital Marketplace were... more >
A force to be reckoned with

12/11/2018A force to be reckoned with

The South Bank plan, which refers to a number of investments and proposed a... more >


New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has... more >

the raven's daily blog

Re-energising citizen engagement

10/12/2018Re-energising citizen engagement

Could smart cities and social media be the perfect match? Simon Dennis, director of artificial intelligence and analytics innovation at SAS UK, reports.  Politi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >