Time to reset public spending

The Spending Review 2021 takes place on 27 October, and it’s safe to say that the first multi-year settlement since before the pandemic will be crucial for local government.

The LGA has been strongly making the case that levelling up requires a radical reset of the relationship between central and local government that leads to real change for people’s lives.

This Spending Review presents an opportunity to reset public spending, in a way that is fit for the future and flexible to allow for the delivery of local priorities, and that empowers councils to achieve the ambition for our communities that central and local government share.

As our submission to the Treasury sets out, building back better needs to start with building back local, with councils given the powers and resources to deliver the changes that enable local communities to flourish.

We have called for a multi-year financial settlement so we can plan ahead with some certainty, and more resources to tackle the ongoing impact of the pandemic on our communities and the demand and demographic pressures facing local services – not least in adult social care.

Councils have amply demonstrated their ability to work in partnership with central government to deliver local solutions and the services people need in response to COVID-19.

So, we are also calling for fiscal decentralisation – something that works well in most other countries. There needs to be a recognition that public investment and funding is best directed by those closest to the ground – in other words, councils working with residents, local businesses, and other public sector organisations to identify and meet local needs.

The Prime Minister recently reiterated his commitment to level up all parts of the UK, and referenced key issues such as reform of the housing market, improving infrastructure, boosting broadband, tackling crime and improving transport links.

These are bread-and-butter issues for councils, and we can deliver on them if we are empowered to build back local.



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