Today George Osborne announced the Autumn Statement and Spending Review to Parliament in London. Here is a summary of some of the key points.
1. Councils will keep the money raised through business rates from 2020 onwards
The Government had previously announced that councils will be taking control of business rates but today saw the announcement that councils will retain 100% of the moeny raised through business rates by 2020. Last month Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Authority, said “Councils and businesses both agree that business rates should be a local tax set by local areas. It is right that all of the money which a businesspays is retained by local government and this will be a vital boost to investment and public services.”
2. Councils get greater influence in social care
Councils will now be able to add a 2% precept for social care on to council tax to increase funding. The Government estimates that this will enable councils with responsibility for delivering adult social care to raise as much as £2billion a year by 2019.
3. Councils allowed to spend 100% of their fixed asset receipts on the revenue costs of reform projects
According to today’s statement, “local authorities in England hold £225billion of assets, including over £60billion in property not used for schools or housing.” As a result, the Government has said that it will “support local authorities to deliver more efficient and sustainable services” by allowing councils to keep the reciepts from selliong council assets for reform projects.
Devolution was prominent in the Spending Review and the Government reinforced it’s preference for directly elected mayors, stating that it would “allow directly elected mayors to add a premium to business rates to pay for new infrastructure, provided they have the support of the local business community.”
We will be publishing a full analysis of the effects of the Spending Review on local government tomorrow.