Dr Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGIU, said:
“The Chancellor’s Budget has fallen short when it comes to what councils up and down the country desperately need to help their communities out of this pandemic.
While everyone’s attention has been on Covid-19, no strategic progress has been made on any of the key issues that matter to councils, even as they get progressively worse. No social care green paper, no Fair Funding Review, no business rate retention scheme, no devolution white paper.
The state of local government finances is not only unsustainable, it is failing fast. Our survey of those leading across local government has shown this time and time again.
All these problems have been decades in the making with councils left to pick up the pieces, all while operating in conditions of deep uncertainty. And as councils across the country set their budgets on the basis of another ad hoc one-year financial settlement, these uncertainties make their job even harder.
The Chancellor made much of the UK’s potential as we recover from the pandemic but that recovery will depend on local government being as fighting fit as possible, and that fitness is undermined in many key areas by our failure to address these long-standing policy dilemmas.
Local government is at the centre of communities and provides the services that matter most to people in their daily lives. The pandemic has highlighted that, but neither local government nor the local public service workers we have spent the last year so effusively praising see any benefit from this Budget. Unless we are building prosperous, resilient, well-governed places then the Chancellor’s vision of a green, high tech, high skills economy will be built on sand.
We still have a long way to go.”
For full Budget documents please see here. LGIU will publish briefings on individual aspects of the Budget in the coming weeks.