Budget 2012: LGiU welcomes focus on cities
While today’s Budget contains ‘some good news for cities’, there is little in it for the rest of the local authority sector, one expert has reported.
Responding to chancellor George Osborne’s announcement today, Andy Sawford, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit, said: ‘The budget had a noticeable emphasis on the role of cities in driving economic growth, with announcements of a new ultra-fast broadband deal for cities, new infrastructure focussed around cities, and emphasis on the 24 largely city based enterprise zones.
‘It is good to hear about the City Deal for Greater Manchester [announced on Monday], which could open the door for many more localised deals with the Treasury that help councils to innovate. Inevitably, though, the rest of local government will be left wondering when it will be invited to the party to agree local deals, develop further enterprise zones, and get support for ultra-fast broadband.’
Mr Sawford described the likely new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), to be published next week, as ‘a powerful way of making sure that local areas go for growth’. But he warned: ‘It will need to be thoughtfully implemented if it is not to simply undermined the spirit of the Neighbourhood Planning approaches emphasised in the Localism Bill.’
He welcomed increased money for house-building through the Get Britain Building Fund, and cash to expedite tax increment finance (TIF) regimes - and help with borrowing costs. But he added that councils ‘will want to see the detail’ before proceeding.
‘Councils will also want to see the details on the announcement of Regionalised Pay for central government departments. Will this lead to localised pay in local government?’ he said.
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