open letter to chancellor calls for government to back localism and end the freeze grant


In an open letter ahead of the Autumn Statement, CIPFA Chief Executive, Rob Whiteman has called on the Chancellor George Osborne to live up to the coalition’s initial commitment to localism with a series of measures to support local authorities to innovate and support local growth.

In the letter Rob Whiteman calls on the Chancellor to back localism and end the hobbling of councils with three simple measures.

  • Ending the council tax freeze grant (which currently costs councils over £2bn a year) and allow local authorities to set their own council tax rates.
  • Establishing an independent grants commission into local government funding to ensure that funding is distributed according to need.
  • Allowing those local authorities that want to do so to build more housing, helping to tackle the housing crisis and lower the benefits bill.

In the letter Rob Whiteman said:

“CIPFA is calling on you to think differently about the challenges that the public sector and the country as a whole face. If we can truly support localism, giving freedom to local authorities to innovate and support local growth we will see the fruit of a new, more active and diverse local government serving and accountable to their communities.

“If your Government can start to trust and support local government and live up to your initial devolutionary promises we will see communities and those that lead them start to build a Britain ready for the global race, a country that thinks and acts locally but performs and grows globally.”