An extra £30 billion of public spending was announced in last month’s Budget – much of it aimed at local priorities including homes, roads, digital connectivity, flood resilience and devolution.
While coronavirus dominated the Chancellor’s statement (as it has his subsequent announcements), LGA Chairman Cllr James Jamieson said it was “encouraging that the Budget signalled a shift towards more spending on local priorities”.
Long-term investment in public services is desperately needed, with the LGA estimating councils face an overall funding gap of almost £6.5 billion by 2025, just to meet inflationary and demographic pressures.
Key announcements in the Budget included:
- £240 million for new city and growth deals
- £200 million for flood resilience and defences
- a new plastic packaging tax
- £1 billion more to remove unsafe cladding from residential buildings
- an extra £1.15 billion of discounted loans for local infrastructure projects
- £9.5 billion for the Affordable Homes programme
- £400 million for local areas to develop homes on brownfield sites
- a £1.8 billion deal for a West Yorkshire mayoral combined authority
Cllr Jamieson said: “With local control over how funding is spent, councils can play a key role in providing genuinely affordable homes, fixing the nation’s roads, delivering high-speed broadband and high-quality mobile connectivity, boosting local economies, and tackling environmental challenges.
“There is clear and significant evidence that lives are improved, and the country gets better value for money when councils have the freedoms, funding, and maximum flexibility to make local decisions, so we are pleased to see further progress on new and improved devolution deals.
“This should trigger renewed momentum around the devolution process to all parts of the country so councils can do more to help the Government grow local economies and improve the lives of their communities.”
A business rates review announced in the Budget has been delayed because of COVID-19, as has the Comprehensive Spending Review.