CIPFA responds to the Independent Commission on Local Government Finance

18-02-2015

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) established the Independent Commission on Local Government Finance with the Local Government Association (LGA) in June 2014 to examine the system of funding local government in England and bring forward recommendations on how it can be reformed to improve funding for local services and promote sustainable economic growth.

Its recommendations will be presented to all of the main political parties with the aim of shaping the debate on the future of local government finance and influencing the next government.

Responding to the Commission’s final report and recommendations published on Wednesday week, CIPFA CEO, Rob Whiteman said:

 “CIPFA asked the Independent Commission on Local Government Finance to recommend pragmatic solutions which wouldn’t increase government spending, but would allow financial sustainability for public services.

“We welcome that the report establishes a clear direction of travel that Central Government has the capacity to implement and though the Commission has done a good job in outlining realistic recommendations, CIPFA believes there is room to go even further.

“The debate around devolution has provided local authorities with a unique opportunity to create a new financial model that allows those delivering local public services to respond creatively even when facing long term financial constraints.”

ENDS

Contact: Matt Patterson/ Saskia Black
CIPFA Press office
t: +44 20 7543 5787
e: matt.patterson@cipfa.org/ Saskia.black@cipfa.org

Notes to editors:

CIPFA’s Additional Comments: 

  • The establishment of an Independent Funding body that would provide reassurance in the funding process between central and local government. CIPFA has long argued that such a body should be established, but it must exist as a standing body in the long-term that would practise transparency and accountability.
  • Pioneer areas adopting devolved powers would be a welcome step in the right direction towards wider devolution. However, the pioneer areas would need to reflect a representative range of authorities to understand how models could work nationally.
  • In principle, full powers over Council Tax should be granted at a local level and the current model is not fit for purpose in this respect. However, it is important that local authorities earn these powers by demonstrating responsibility, and being fully accountable and transparent about the decisions they make on council tax rates and where the funds raised are spent. This means there must be safeguards in place to make sure councils have strong enough governance before such devolution. There should also be a legal requirement for regular property tax revaluations, as these currently bear no relation to the true value of property today.

You can find more information on the commission here.

The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance was set up in June 2014 and has been tasked with making recommendations for the reform of local government finance and finding better ways to fund local services and promote economic growth in England.

Its recommendations will be presented to all of the main political parties with the aim of shaping the debate on the future of local government finance and influencing the next government. The Commission was established by the Local Government Association (LGA), the national voice of local government, and the Chartered Institute for Public Finance (CIPFA), the professional body for public finance professionals. Its views and recommendations are independent of those two organisations.

For a copy of the report please contact the Local Government Association press office

 
About CIPFA
CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, we champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services.

Matt Patterson
Communications Manager
CIPFA
t: 020 7543 5787
e: matthew.patterson@cipfa.org
www.cipfa.org