Localis response to Autumn Statment 2023
Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: “The Autumn Statement is one in which the chancellor has put on his listening ears to take heed of the local government’s plea for short-term assistance, and the lifting of Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile of local market rents will provide some welcome immediate relief to those local authorities that risked being sunk financially by burgeoning costs of homelessness and temporary accommodation.
“While it is to be hoped that the provisional local government finance settlement delivers a pre-Christmas package above current inflationary pressures, today’s statement was never going to fix an unsustainable and broken local government finance system.
“For that we will have to wait for another day, and possibly the next Spending Review, for root-and-branch reform, a fair settlement on the burden of social care responsibility and expenditure, a shift in central-local relations, some measure of revenue uplift and degree of fiscal freedom that will secure the medium safety of our local state as the prime anchor of place.
“But as a secondary fiscal event, the Autumn Statement is not, notwithstanding a pleasing flurry of county devolution deals, going to shift the dial for driving the marked and swift uptick in regional productivity and local economic growth upon which the foundations of prosperity and improved public services can be built.
“Housing growth represents the most direct route out of economic stagnation. And while the news that council planning departments can reclaim more money for fast-tracking major infrastructure schemes is to be welcomed, from a localist perspective it remains perplexing that councils’ overstretched and under-resourced planning departments should continually subsidise development at the expense of funding other vital local public services upon which residents depend.”