Magazine article Public Finance

Local Government Awaits Finance Settlement amid Great Uncertainty

Magazine article Public Finance

Local Government Awaits Finance Settlement amid Great Uncertainty

Article excerpt

Local government leaders' eyes are firmly fixed on the detail of the forthcoming Revenue Support Grant for some certainty on exactly where the Comprehensive Spending Review settlement has left them.

Addressing a New Local Government Network conference, convened to digest the implications of the CSR, Noel O'Neil, director of corporate financial affairs at Vale Royal Borough Council in Cheshire, predicted that the areas under financial pressure - adult and children's services - would do well out of the RSG.

'Us in the little old districts... might see a real cut,' he told the conference on November 1. 'We don't know that yet; it's still in the offing.'

Bernard Priest, executive member for finance at Manchester City Council, said the CSR had left local government with lots of uncertainties.

'Until we get the settlement in December we're not really sure whether this is good for us or not,' he said.

But he was sanguine about the tightness of the CSR, which granted councils just a 1% average real-terms increase over each of the next three years.

'The route to success is anticipating what's going to happen,' Priest said. …

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