Latest Public Sector News


Districts councils call for council tax control

The District Councils’ Network (DCN) has urged the government to loosen its “significant central control” of council tax.

In its submission to the government’s spending review, the DCN advocates for council tax to be set locally, and fully endorses the Local Government Association’s call for the abolition of council tax limits.

Failing this the organisation, which represents the interests of 200 district councils in England, says there should be more flexibility in the way a council tax referendum is conducted.

It added that council tax bills in England are based on a register of properties that has not been reviewed since it was established in 1991. Therefore, local areas must be given the ability to hold revaluations, should they wish.

Steve Atkinson, DCN director, said: “District Councils have coped admirably in weathering cuts to Revenue Support Grant of between 33% to 36% since 2010, whilst continuing to deliver outstanding local services to the communities and places they serve.

“Against the headwind of anticipated 25% to 40% funding reductions over the next full Spending Review period, we cannot rely on driving further efficiencies – that particular well is running dry after a decade of effective cost-cutting measures.

“Instead, Districts must be empowered with fiscal freedoms to raise money locally and flexibilities in areas of planning, housing, economic generation to deliver long-term investment in places where local infrastructure choices would sustainably underpin future council revenue streams.”

The DCN has also requested to secure continuity with pro-growth investment incentive pools, including the New Homes Bonus, business rates, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 agreements, so as to unlock stalled housing and infrastructure scheme.

With regards to the new living wage (NLW) launched by the chancellor in the Summer Budget, the DCN says it will result in an upward pressure on council budgets – as a result of direct pay costs and increased contractor costs.

Additionally, a number of districts have concerns regarding the affordability of the NLW. Therefore, the DCN believes this should be treated as ‘a new burden’.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

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 >

public sector focus

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 >


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 >