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CSR reaction

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Councils have echoed Local Government Association chairman Sir Simon Milton’s cry that the comprehensive spending review (CSR) was the worst settlement for local government in a decade.

“It will mean above inflation rises in bills for council taxpayers and businesses, and there remains a black hole in funding for the care of the elderly," said Sir Simon.

Harrow

Harrow LBC deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance David Ashton (Con) said: "This is the worst settlement in a decade. This paltry 1% rise will lead to a further squeeze on crucial council services.

"Harrow is already under pressure, as it is among the worst funded councils across the country and faces real financial difficulties caused by government funding, or more accurately, lack of it.”

Kent

Kent CC leader Paul Carter (Con) said: “The outlook looks bleak for local government and council taxpayers. Real savings of£40m will have to be made to balance the budget next year."

Cumbria

Cumbria CC warned that “tough decisions” lay ahead. Deputy leader Joan Stocker (Lab) said: “An increased pressure is put on council taxpayers and we are having to budget for a 5% increase in council tax again next year.

"Make no bones about it, our budget is under pressure and Cumbrians will feel the pinch from this announcement."

Wales

Welsh Local Government Association finance spokesman Bill Langsford said the CSR was a “blow”. “It will now be a crucial test of the new assembly government to ensure that the resource decisions they take on the block grant from central government are the right decisions.”

Unison

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Investment in public services must include investment in staff and training. Pay is a crucial factor in maintaining morale. Putting an artificial limit on pay across the public sector restricts genuine attempts to reward staff for successful reform and will store up industrial problems for the future.”

CIPFA

Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) chief executive Steve Freer told Solace: “A series of tough years are in prospect but if the proper measures are taken now we have the opportunity to ensure that strong financial management, value for money and efficiency become absolutely central to the vision of local government and other public services for years to come.”

Work Foundation


Work Foundation chief executive Will Hutton said: ”City regions are likely to welcome the announcements that local government can now set business supplement rates and that they will be helped with further grants. The gradual devolution of powers to enable local distinctiveness is the right direction, but it has a very long way to go.”

ECCA

English Community Care Association (ECCA) chief executive Martin Green said: “Social care has clearly been identified as an important part of the government’s spending plans and our challenge is to ensure that the money available goes to those who provide services rather than to the structures and organisations that commission and monitor them”.

King's Fund

The King’s Fund welcomed a ‘historic move’ on the future of long term care for millions of older people and their carers.

Chief executive Niall Dickson said: “This a bold first step at addressing one of the greatest social challenges facing the government. For too long this has been a no-go area for politicians since the Royal Commission on Long Term Care reported in 1999.”

U-turn over proposed planning gain supplement welcomed

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) welcomed clarification that the much criticised planning gain supplement (PGS) tax proposals have been withdrawn and that a ‘plan-based’ system will be introduced.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) welcomed the increased investment in housing from£8.8bn in 2007-8 to£10bn in 2010/11 and the commitment to increase long-term housing supply and affordability.

“This is a major step forward and is widely appreciated as a means of meeting the country's housing needs,” a spokesman said.

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