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DCLG to disclose spending cuts model

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The government has been asked to publish its modelling of spending cuts on local government after auditors criticised the quality of its impact assessments.

LGC understands the Department for Communities & Local Government will respond positively to the request and intends to publish data relating to how the current settlement was assessed and analysed - although information linked to the current spending review will not be published while work is ongoing.

The LGA made the call for modelling to be published as part of its submission to the Treasury ahead of next week’s Budget and the spending review for 2015-16 which calls for a stable funding outlook for local government.

“We are also inviting the Department for Communities & Local Government to publish their financial modelling of the impact of potential local government spending scenarios on local services as part of the Spending Review announcement,” the submission states.

The request comes after a January National Audit Office report noted that DCLG and other departments had not complete information about the impact of cuts on local authority services during the last spending review and suggested it should “better evaluate the impact of decisions on local authority finance and services – before and after implementation.”

DCLG sources indicated the department will soon publish data used for past spending decisions, such as modelling of the business rate retention system, but modelling of the current spending review is not expected to be released at the same time.

As negotiations over the current spending review warm up the LGA has indicated it will refresh its “graph of doom” assessment of future spending pressures in service areas such as adult social care – once described as “the most pessimistic interpretation” by senior DCLG officials.

Speaking at Thursday’s LGA executive meeting, finance panel chair Sharon Taylor (Lab) said: “The finance panel has commissioned a review of the graph of doom because not only is it important we have coherent evidence but it’s important that it’s up to date coherent evidence, so we’ll be having it back later in the year.  Hopefully that will give us the up to date position on where the demographic pressure is going to see us in a few years.”

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