Speaking on the Budget, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Rob Whiteman said:
“Any review into business rates is welcome, especially if it means more support for local economies and communities.
“However it is concerning that while a review has been announced the Government have decided to hand out special concessions through an additional 100% retention rate to a few select local authorities.
“If business rates are to be reformed then it must be done in a thorough, planned and fair way that serves the interest of business, communities and local government. It is an essential tax for local councils and supports the services they provide.”
Responding further, he commented:
“The Budget documents today have demonstrated the huge cuts that local authorities have dealt with in this Parliament and how much more they still have to undergo. In 2015-16 alone Government support for councils will fall by 23%, on top of the 50% cuts they have already endured over the past five years.
“Local services are already stretched thin and while many councils have dealt well under the pressures they have faced, there are increasing instances of them struggling to cope under the strain of their finances. The impacts of these cuts are now feeding through into pressures for other areas of the public sector such as the NHS and the criminal justice system.
“With this in mind, those who are serious about the future of local councils and the services they provide must ask if the continued trajectory of funding cuts are sustainable or desirable.”
Read CIPFA's briefing on the 2015 budget online.