More freedom on finances

This month’s Budget will be the Government’s first since the General Election and the UK’s exit from the European Union on 31 January.

Our submission to the Treasury sets out how the Budget can unlock the ambitions of councils to further deliver high-quality services, maximise the growth potential of our local areas and help the Government deliver on national priorities.

It explores how local areas can benefit from more freedom and control over their own finances and greater ability to grow their own economies. We are also calling for reform of Right to Buy, investment in technology to reshape services, and more opportunities for councils to borrow for housing and infrastructure projects at favourable rates.

The final local government finance settlement, published last month, confirmed desperately needed new funding for councils this year, extra council-tax raising powers and the continuation of key grants.

This positive settlement is for one year only, though. Councils have faced an unprecedented period of funding and demand pressures and continue to face significant challenges.

We will continue to work with the Government to ensure the Budget and this year’s Spending Review provide a funding settlement that allows councils to improve services, and not just keep them going.

With long-term investment, councils can protect local services, meet the significant ongoing pressures they face both now and in the future, and make a huge difference to the lives of our residents and communities.

Meanwhile, following the recent government reshuffle, I was delighted to see Robert Jenrick MP remain as our Communities Secretary and look forward to continue working with him on getting the best for local government.

It was sad to see Sajid Javid MP leave government, but our new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, is also someone I am sure we can work well with on the need for sustainable funding for councils and the services on which our communities rely, and a long-term solution for adult social care funding.

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