Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance
In response to the 2021 Budget, CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman said:
"We welcome the near-term support in today's budget amounting to over 3% of GDP. The extension of the most important support schemes for another six months avoids the much-dreaded cliff edge for many people and businesses. The recognition of the economic opportunities present in our recovery from the pandemic was also welcome, but the key will be whether the chancellor's words are translated into tangible action.
"However, the budget was notably silent on support for public services that continue to acutely feel the pressures of the COVID crisis. The restart grants and tapering business rates arrangements, while no doubt welcome to businesses, will represent an additional administrative burden for local authorities that already face increasing demands on their available resources. There was also no mention of the crises facing both social care and public health – areas in which greater investment and planning certainty are desperately needed.
"The budget was also notable for its lack of detail around key policy ambitions such as the green agenda and levelling up. Tackling entrenched inequalities across the UK that have been worsened by COVID-19 will take more than a government campus in Darlington and a bank in Leeds. While there were some investments directly attributable to the levelling up agenda, at present these seem largely scattergun with little strategic coordination. As we move away from the present crisis, we would like to see greater coherence between policy and spending that specifically outlines how these announcements will feed in to levelling up and net zero."
CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.