CIPFA questions autumn statement business tax cut and HRA announcements


Speaking on the 2013 Autumn Statement, CIPFA CEO, Rob Whiteman has called for clarity on whether the cost of the business rate cut will be passed on to local services and expressed massive disappointment at the lack of new thinking from the Government in their small adjustment to the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap.

Speaking on the changes to business rates in the Autumn Statement CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman said:

“While moves to support local businesses through extending reliefs and capping increases are welcome and will support local growth, the Government must explain who is paying for these measures. This tax cut for businesses could mean over £500m of cuts to local authority budgets, far outweighing any benefit they have received through the budget protection announced by the Chancellor.

“We need clarity from the Government on who pays for this. Will it be local authorities whose services are already under enormous pressure and who already face on-going cuts to funding?”

Rob Whiteman also commenting on the Autumn Statement Housing Revenue Account announcement said:

“CIPFA have long campaigned for the HRA borrowing cap to be lifted to allow local authorities to build the homes their communities need. It’s therefore massively disappointing to see it increased by only £150m next year, but also that this money comes with a host of strings attached with the government creating a complex competition before authorities can hope to see the benefits.

“If we are to tackle the housing challenge that our country faces we need to see the HRA borrowing cap lifted and new thinking from the government on house building.”