Wednesday's announcements came down harder on councils around the country than on the rest of the public sectorby Alexandra Jones / November 27, 2015 / Leave a comment
Much of the public sector will have breathed a sigh of relief yesterday at Spending Review cuts that, while certainly tough, were by no means on the scale many had predicted.
Not local government leaders, however—who are faced with soaring demand for social care on top of a 56 per cent cut to the local government central grant over this Parliament. Despite some welcome announcements in the shape of new powers over business rates, and confirmation of the city devolution deals announced earlier this year, the Spending Review clearly offers local leaders a tough settlement. But what will it mean for different places around the country?
The city deals agreed by Manchester, Sheffield, the North East, the West Midlands and Liverpool, represent a significant step forward, giving local leaders greater control and influence over transport, strategic planning and skills, as well as more opportunities to attract private sector investment. Manchester will also be breaking new ground with its ability to integrate health and social care locally. By 2017 these city regions will have metro mayors with the power to raise business rates in order to pay for major infrastructure projects, and who can also act as ambassadors to attract businesses and represent their interests nationally and internationally.