In response to today’s Budget announcement, Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO said:
“Today’s budget was a confident debut from the new Chancellor, who made clear the government’s priorities of increased funding to support businesses, infrastructure investment and the current emergency induced by the spread of Covid-19.
“We welcome the announcement of a range of fiscal stimulus measures that support local businesses and communities, as well as additional funding for flooding, road repairs and a £500m hardship fund to be distributed locally via local authorities. The relocation of thousands of civil servants and government offices across the UK, and the appointment of a new metro mayor in West Yorkshire, was also a welcome step, serving as a clear commitment to re-energise the devolution agenda.
“While we welcome the funding announced for the NHS, we remain significantly concerned about funding for social care and public health, particularly given their central role in responding to Covid-19.
“Chancellor Sunak also made business rates a key focus of his announcement, reducing rates for many businesses by the introduction of a tax holiday, the provision of cash grants and increases in rate relief. These new changes, while understandable in the present environment, add further fiscal stress to local authority budgets that are already stretched to the limit, as demand continues to rise for services like social care. Local authorities will want assurance that they will not be funding the reimbursement of business rates promised today by HM Treasury.
“The announcement that the upcoming Spending Round will only cover a period of three years also calls into question the ability that councils will have to adequately and sustainably plan their finances for the long term.
“Many of today’s announcements will certainly be welcomed by pub-goers, business owners and communities, but one thing the Chancellor made clear is that the job is not done for local government.”
For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on 020 7543 5787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org