While this is a challenging spending review for local government, it is encouraging to see measures aimed at supporting devolution, however the devil will be in the detail.
Renewed efforts to empower and strengthen local democracy are now a must and vital to the future delivery of public services and successful decentralisation.
Housing and housebuilding are an obvious priority in the government’s spending plans and it will be important for the government to continue to invest in neighbourhood planning and put communities in control of shaping development in their area. Additionally the consultation on reforms to the New Homes Bonus will provide a welcome opportunity to ensure local communities genuinely benefit financially from development in their area.
The new ability for principal councils to increase their council tax to support social care costs needs to be matched by fair funding for parish and town councils with a share of locally retained business rates and the continued freedom to raise the resources they need to invest in local services and facilities.