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The 2014 IFS Green Budget

This briefing deals with selected chapters in the latest IFS Green Budget, focusing in particular on the prognosis for the UK economy, the public finances, and incomes growth. Also dealt with are chapters on business rates, housing, and policies to help the low paid. This briefing will be of particular interest to members and officers in all authorities concerned with finance and strategic planning. Despite the improvement in GDP growth, real average earnings are shown to remain broadly flat between 2013-15 and to rise slowly thereafter. However, they do not rise above their 2009-10 position until 2018-19, and then only slightly. Overall, living standards are highly unlikely to recover their pre-crisis levels by 2015–16. Recovery from recession has been slower than in previous economic downturns, and hence the current programme of fiscal contraction is unusually deep and protracted. Of the total planned contraction in spending, nearly half (46 per cent) is planned to have been achieved by the end of 2013–14. A large proportion of the cuts to planned spending is still to come. Only 36 per cent of the cuts to planned spending excluding social security and debt interest payments will be in place by the end of 2013–14, meaning further cuts to departmental budgets.

The vanishing high street: the Grimsey Review

The last three years have seen various strands of work, by Government, local authorities and civil society to draw together policies and measures to help preserve and rejuvenate high streets and town centres, notably activity stemming from Mary Portas’ Government-commissioned review in 2011. In September 2013, former Wickes and Iceland Chief Executive Bill Grimsey released a rival review, put together by an expert team and explicitly set up as an alternative to Portas’ work, which Grimsey criticised. This briefing summarises the main points of Grimsey’s review and briefly discusses its context, reception and likely future. This briefing is relevant to councillors and officers across all areas and all tiers of local government, particularly those involved with planning and economic development.

The future of high streets: progress since the Portas Review

Eighteen months on from the Portas Review of high streets, the Government has published a progress report on national and local policies and initiatives to revitalise high streets and town centres. This briefing summarises the report and offers comment on key related developments and issues affecting high streets policy.

This briefing is relevant to councillors and officers across all areas and all tiers of local government, particularly those involved with planning and economic development.

Local Government Finance Act 2012 – Non-domestic rates

The Local Government Finance Act 2012 introduces a business rates retention scheme in England enabling local authorities to retain a proportion of the non-domestic rates generated in their area.
It also supports the development of Tax Incremental Financing and Enterprise Zones by enabling local authorities to borrow for capital schemes against projected growth in business rate income.
This briefing will be of interest to local authority cabinet and elected members and officers with an interest in finance, housing, regeneration and economic development and infrastructure.

EVENT: The Financial Implications of the Localism Act and the Local Government Finance Bill

In February, LGiU published research we’ve conducted with local finance officers on the impact and implications of the Local Government Finance Bill. The full results can be found here. Some key findings are: 47% of councils thought they will lose financially through …

LGiU/MJ Local Finance Bill survey: analysis and infographics

  The LGiU and MJ council finances survey gives mixed reviews of how localist the government’s policies are and what the practical impact will be.  A clear majority believe the government’s finance bill is decentralising, but around half are concerned that they …

LGiU on front page of today’s MJ

Research conducted by the LGiU is the headline story of this week’s MJ. You can read a summary of the story for free here, and the full version here (£). We will be posting our own analysis tomorrow, complete with …

Mr Pickles will be pleased. Most councils are set to freeze council tax this year

A press release from DCLG yesterday announced that over 200 councils have signalled intentions to freeze council tax over 2012/13. Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said “Freezing council tax is a concrete way councils can …

“The Localism Act – over to you”

Today we’re in Bristol hosting a major one-day policy conference for the south-west and west midlands. The Localism Act – over to you brings together Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell, Cities Advisor Lord Shipley, with a range of local councillors and officers as well …

Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

The Question session will take place today at 2.30pm. LGiU will cover the oral questions live and will produce a briefing available to member authorities. 1 Mr Douglas Carswell (Clacton): What steps his Department has taken to increase transparency in (a) …