Localis response to National Audit Office report: ‘Local government finance in the pandemic’

Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: “Since it will now take local authorities until the middle of the decade to recover their pre-pandemic financial position, it would be better to focus attention to bolstering revenue spending on day-to-day services as much as the much-vaunted ‘tournament financing’ of levelling up and community cash pots announced in last week’s Budget.

“In the absence of a multi-year spending review settlement to provide certainty, we should look to longer-term approaches to renewing and diversifying the local tax base, to address the over dependence on council tax and business rates and seek to recoup revenues that have evaporated during the last year.

“Otherwise, as we look ahead towards a long process of economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and successive lockdowns, this gap in local power and fiscal autonomy across England’s councils risks seeing communities fall even further behind and deepening the country’s already troubling inequalities further too.”