Michael Burton

Michael Burton

Michael Burton is editorial director of The MJ
  • Mind the gap in Scotland

    08 September 2020

    The latest figures show Scotland’s deficit between income and spending compared to the deficit for the whole of the UK has widened. Michael Burton delves into the statistics.


  • Retail chiefs call for more rate relief as Sunak considers tax hikes

    01 September 2020

    Retail chiefs have urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend business rate relief just as he plans tax rises to reduce the £2 trillion hole in the public finances.


  • Scots deficit widens in blow to nationalists

    27 August 2020

    In a blow to Scottish separatists Scotland’s notional deficit widened to 8.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year according to latest official figures.


  • UK council finances 'hardest hit in Europe, claims Moody's

    26 August 2020

    UK local authorities are set to be hardest hit financially by the coronavirus among the five largest European economies says a report from Moody’s Investors Services.


  • Housing targets hit Tory shires most, ministers are warned

    25 August 2020

    Ministers have been warned that proposed changes to the housing targets formula outlined earlier this month could mean more developments in rural Conservative-held council areas than in Labour-held inner cities.


  • Lockdown havoc on finance figures

    21 August 2020

    Public debt has bust the £2 trillion mark for the first time, up by £227.6bn over the same time last year as the lockdown wreaks havoc on the public finance figures.


  • Public health must not be downplayed by PHE’s abolition

    19 August 2020

    To start tearing down structures like PHE while the pandemic still rages and when the wider preventative issues of public health have been recognised as integral to slowing down the spread of the virus seems reckless, says Michael Burton.


  • IFS finds £2bn budget black hole

    18 August 2020

    Councils face a budget black hole of £2bn this year due to unfunded coronavirus costs, a new study has found.


  • A demolition job on the planning system

    18 August 2020

    The Prime Minister regards the new planning White Paper as ‘levelling the foundations’ of the present system but critics say it emasculates the role of local authorities. Michael Burton takes a look at what the paper proposes.


  • Hancock scraps Public Health England

    17 August 2020

    Ministers have been accused of making Public Health England (PHE) a scapegoat by scrapping the body for alleged failures in the testing and tracing of coronavirus.


  • Ex-ministers unite in health devolution call

    13 August 2020

    Five former ministers from all three main parties have called for health and social care to be devolved and integrated within a single budget.


  • Planning for reset and recovery

    05 August 2020

    Having emerged from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, local authorities are now busy dealing with reset and recovery before the feared resurgence of a second wave. In a virtual round table, The MJ and Serco looked at some of the key challenges facing councils. Michael Burton reports


  • Local government was poorly prepared for pandemic, report finds

    03 August 2020

    A decade of spending cuts, staff shortages and poor contacts with Whitehall meant local government was poorly prepared to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, a report from the Institute for Government think-tank has said.


  • Government handling of social care during pandemic attacked

    29 July 2020

    MPs have delivered a blistering attack on the Government’s handling of social care during coronavirus.


  • Ministers to extend Help to Buy

    28 July 2020

    Ministers are drawing up plans to extend the Help to Buy scheme after housebuilders warned buyers could lose out due to delays caused by coronavirus.


  • MPs slate ministers over sector funding

    23 July 2020

    MPs have slated ministers for failing to give local government sufficient funding and urged them to ensure a 'clear and timely financial settlement’ in readiness for the next phase of the pandemic.


  • NAO hits out at late accounts

    23 July 2020

    A rise in late auditing of local government accounts has come under fire from the National Audit Office which it says is affecting the quality of Treasury public sector accounting.


  • Finalists announced in The MJ Awards

    23 July 2020

    The MJ is delighted to announce the finalists of The MJ Local Government Achievement Awards 2020, with a full list of the luck shortlisted councils available at awards.themj.co.uk or in our ebook.


  • Business rate revaluation postponed for two years

    22 July 2020

    Ministers have postponed a revaluation of business rates until April 2023 and issued consultation on the wider rating system.


  • New regs will not just hit tower blocks, say building chiefs

    21 July 2020

    The biggest changes in building safety regulations in 25 years will not only affect local authorities with tower blocks but ‘impose wider responsibilities’ on all councils say building safety chiefs.