Magazine article Public Finance

Three-Year Budgets Would Help Councils

Magazine article Public Finance

Three-Year Budgets Would Help Councils

Article excerpt

Councils would be better able to protect their communities from the recession if they were allowed to set three-year budgets, a New Local Government Network report has argued.

The report, published on May 15, said a three-year cycle would give local authorities more freedom to act than the current system of matching spending to income every 12 months.

NLGN director Chris Leslie said the change would allow councils to invest during hard times and pay for it when their income improved.

He argued that as authorities' central government grants were already allocated over three-year periods, applying the principle to their budgets 'would not require a giant leap' and that this was a reform whose time had come.

"The current constraints placed on local authorities might create more harm than benefit, especially at a time when precisely targeted local interventions to help specific employers, workforces or neighbourhoods might be required,' he said. …

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