Michael Burton is editorial director of The MJ
Surfeit of grant pots makes a pot noodle for councils
If questions about the way the Levelling Up Fund and the Towns Fund are targeted dulls ministers’ appetites for more pots then they could always consider rolling them up into one fund and calling it, say, revenue support grant, says Michael Burton.
Council tax revaluation would help level up, says IFS
A new council tax revaluation would boost the Government’s levelling up agenda, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said.
Short-term funding has held back care, says watchdog
Short-term funding has held back investment in the unstable £16.5bn adult social care market despite a forecast 57% in demand from the over-65s by 2036 says a report from the National Audit Office (NAO).
A Beveridge-sized challenge for local government
Michael Burton says planning for the aftermath of the pandemic 'need not wait until the number of cases is in single figures just as Beveridge did not wait for the guns to fall silent before planning the welfare state'.
Watchdog warns of post-pandemic underfunding crisis
Local government has been praised by the national finance watchdog for its response to the pandemic but faces severe budget pressures unless the Treasury initiates multi-year settlements, Michael Burton reports.
Under pressure from many directions
Last week’s Budget made optimistic assumptions about post-pandemic costs that could mean cuts in services like local government down the line, reports Michael Burton.
Councils left seriously underfunded, NAO finds
Coronavirus has left local authorities seriously underfunded and facing budget cuts unless the Government can create a long-term financial plan for the sector, a study from the National Audit Office (NAO) has warned.
Council chiefs ask for matched pay rise
Council chief executives have asked for the same pay rise as will be awarded to the rest of local government staff in 2021-22.
BUDGET 2021: OBR highlights post-war peak in public spending
Total public spending is expected to rise by £256bn or 29% in 2020-21, the largest increase on record, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Reset and rebuild: delivering better connected services
At a recent webinar organised by The MJ and BT, three speakers gave a national, local and provider perspective on the Government's £5bn gigabit speed connectivity revolution. Michael Burton reports.
Grant fraud to soar
Grant fraud is expected to soar because of the amount of COVID-19 funding channelled through local government, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
Back to the future for Big Bang of the North
A new study on levelling up the North sounds like a return to urban development corporations, says Michael Burton.
Local government pandemic procurement study launched
A major study into how local authorities have managed their annual £100bn local procurement spend during the pandemic has been launched with a call for evidence.
Budget should give more cash to councils, claims IFS
Next month’s Budget should allocate more funding for local government, health and education while a revamped and higher council tax should replace stamp duty, says a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Think-tank launches levelling up Big Bang theory
The Government should launch a Northern Big Bang to ‘unleash a torrent of investment into the Northern economy’ says a report from a Conservative think-tank.
Rural economic growth deal secured
A £70m rural economic growth deal has been agreed between the Scottish and UK governments and Argyll and Bute Council.
Spelthorne told it must 'understand and manage risk'
A council that invested almost 40 times its budget in property must ‘understand and manage risk and its impact on future financial performance and sustainability,’ a Local Government Association (LGA) finance peer challenge has said.
What next for the capital post-pandemic?
The levelling up agenda has focused on the Midlands and the North, but London’s economy has also been hard hit by the pandemic. The MJ and BT spoke to eight London chief executives on how they are adapting to the changes. Michael Burton reports.
No turning back the digital revolution
The pandemic transformed councils, in their digital processes and engagement. The MJ and Capita hosted two webinars in which chief executives and directors discussed how they and their communities were changed by COVID-19. Michael Burton reports.
A well-deserved break for the workforce
Even the Government’s most fervent supporters must admit its response to the pandemic has been muddled, says Michael Burton. In contrast, local government has risen to the challenge.