In response to today’s Budget, Dr Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, said:
“A penny off a pint, fuel duty rises cancelled and bingo duty halved. As widely predicted, George Osborne’s fifth budget contained lots of popular measures. It was in many ways the definition of a pre-election budget: rewarding saving, reducing taxes for lower and middle income workers and support for pensioners.
“Local authorities will welcome extra support for housebuilding, with a £500 million pot to provide financing to developers, a £150 million pot to stimulate regeneration of housing estates and reform to the planning system to allow increase flexibility in change of use and a new retail class which could exclude betting shops and payday lenders.
“These measures are all things that local government has called for and will welcome. They will give democratically elected local councils more freedom to stimulate house building thus providing homes for local people and a boost to local economies and will help them regenerate high streets in interesting and varied new ways.”
“Only local government has the local know how, the democratic mandate and the strategic vision to lead growth, though it must work with partners in the private and wider public sector to do so.”
“This budget hints that central government finally gets that, but perhaps old habits die hard. The Chancellor also announced a £200 million pound “challenge fund” for pothole repair. Welcome money no doubt, but we might wonder if “challenge funds” is just a fancy new phrase for ring fencing?”