Budget

An end to austerity? Not for local government.

This article originally appeared in the Local Government Chronicle

The budget has found the money tree, but not for local economies, local public services or the climate.

We need to look at where the money goes and who has power over it. Big finance, large infrastructure companies and the existing wealth winners all win again. Just and green local economies for all remain as distant as ever.

Wider economic austerity has been abandoned – but let’s be clear, local government public service austerity remains, and so do the systemic economic issues bedevilling great swathes of this land.

The Spring Budget: Robin Hood in Reverse?

In the Budget, wealthy businesses in thriving parts of the country were granted a smoother transition to their new higher business rates bill. This easing-in period for successful businesses will be subsidised by a “fair” increase in National Insurance Contributions by 1% to 10% for the self-employed – raising £145m a year by 2021/22.

Whatever happened to economic development?

Budget day for the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) used to be one of intrigue and relative excitement. In the 2000s, the Budget was supplemented by a specific annex focused on economic development and regeneration. Indeed, the Budget was where we saw exciting new renewal initiatives announced; reviews of sub-national economic development formulated; and new duties and funding initiated.

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