'Local government continues to bear its share of public sector constraint'

The impact this week’s Spending Review will have on key council partners will be “critical to evaluate”, but what remains clear is that local government continues to bear its share of public sector constraint, according to Solace. 

Mike Suarez, chief executive of Cheshire East Council and Solace deputy spokesperson on Local Government Finance, said in a blog that while the devil is in the detail there are a number of interesting dynamics emerging. 

For instance, intersection of the grant funding system and business rates means that the government commitment to business rate localisation can be delivered. “The issues of redistribution I’ll set aside for another time,” he added. 

Additionally, Suarez said the council tax precept for social care “at least explicitly recognises the structural significance of a maturing population”, irrespective of whether it covers the pressures locally. 

“It is an important and strategic matter which helps to raise the profile of this issue that affects all major economies,” he noted. 

“There is an opportunity, too, for some authorities to consider how to sustain their funding locally into the medium term and begin the strategic analysis of how their income streams of business rates, council tax and other revenues will meet and underpin their community priorities. 

“Ideally, better news for one public partner could ultimately be better news for all.” 

Paul Dossett, head of local government at Grant Thornton UK LLP and a regular contributor to PSE, added that the chancellor’s Spending Review confirmed the scale of the funding reductions being faced by local government over the life of this Parliament, with plans to phase out all the block revenue grant by 2020. 

“He [the chancellor] also announced that councils will be spending in 2019-20 the same in cash terms as they are currently. There remain many significant 'ifs' to determine if this scenario will be achievable,” said Dossett. 

“The most significant announcement is that the main central government revenue grant to local government will be phased out completely by 2020. This will leave council tax and business rates as the main source of local government revenue finance, but both retain significant central control.” 

He did warn that over recent years local authorities have been well led, but failure to further shape their future and work within the opportunities and threats in which they find themselves, will mean that some authorities could face a “financial tipping point” during the course of this Parliament. 

Ahead of the Spending Review, Mark Lloyd, the new CEO of the Local Government Association, told PSE that the reality for councils is the workforce capacity will reduce further in the next five years and that there will be service reductions.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

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 >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar


August 2020

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News