Public finance priorities for the new Prime Minister

13-07-2016

Welcoming the Prime Minister, Theresa May, as she takes office today, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has recommended six priorities for an historic premiership.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA Chief Executive, said:

“I warmly welcome the Rt Hon Theresa May MP as the new Prime Minister. As I know from my own direct experience, she is a politician of sound judgement, great integrity and has the foresight needed for the many challenges she faces.

“On behalf of the public finance profession, CIPFA proposes six priorities to use public money to boost economic growth and improve the lives of millions of people.”

Boost NHS funding whilst also tackling its inefficienciesCIPFA analysis suggests the NHS will have a £10bn black hole by 2020. NHS efficiency must be systematically improved too, but this cannot happen while the service accounts for a lower share of GDP than comparable developed countries.

Reform HM Treasury Make HM Treasury a ministry of finance as much as it is one for economics. This should be linked to reforms of the civil service, transparency and accountability so that the public has greater access to the financial options ministers considered. The Treasury needs greater focus on medium term financial planning and sweating public assets.

Accelerate devolution ­– Give new regional Mayors wider taxation and borrowing powers to drive innovation and local prioritisation. This will build on Police and Crime Commissioners and reform of blue-light services. As with the devolved administrations within the UK, English regional devolution should give Mayors new powers to reorganise local government linked to less policy and spend reserved for Westminster.

Allow councils to build homes ­– Free up councils to build hundreds of thousands of new homes against future rent receipts through prudential borrowing; and taking advantage of unprecedentedly low interest rates to lift borrowing limits for the next decade. This would get construction moving and support more thriving communities.

Invest in disadvantaged communitiesSecure the future of the most disadvantaged communities and free up their potential by switching a prescribed amount of public resources to prevention and early intervention. Ultimately, this will improve societal productivity and reduce the costly consequences of Britain’s fractured society.

Maintain British commitment to international development Maintain Britain’s international influence and support poorer countries to support themselves by maintaining our proud record of development funding. This will reduce pressures on migration whilst government seeks to strengthen own borders.