Heather Jameson 27 October 2021

Bonanza Budget claims councils have the largest rise in a decade

Bonanza Budget claims councils have the largest rise in a decade image

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a Budget and spending review he claimed will deliver the high skill, high wage economy promised at the Conservative Party Conference.

In his statement to Parliament – much of which had been widely trailed – Mr Sunak said he was providing councils with £4.8bn of ‘new grant funding’ for the three-year period, ‘the largest increasing in core funding for more than a decade’, he said.

However, the option of high council tax rises to relieve local authority spending pressures did not materialize. The spending review documents also revealed councils will be able to increase council tax by 2%, with a further 1% social care precept for the relevant authorities.

The chancellor also revealed a raft of measures to relieve the pressure of business rates on struggling firms, including a new ‘investment relief’ and a 50% business rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure. But there was no hint at the future for business rates reform, leaving local government without a plan for its long-term finances.

Expected rises to the national living wage and lifting the pay freeze on public sector pay were also announced – as was a new system of alcohol duty which taxes drinks by strength. A planned rise of fuel duty was cancelled while a lower air passenger duty will be applied to domestic flights from 2023.

Pre-announced spending plans for transport and health went ahead, with money to tackle the NHS backlog and provide better transport links in the regions. There was £11.5bn to build affordable homes, £540m for family hubs, and increased cash for homelessness.   

Instead of reinstating the Universal Credit uplift, the chancellor announced an 8% cut in the taper from 63% to 55%.

Overall it was a bonanza budget, with increases in spending across every department, funded by better than expected economic results.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the economy is now expected to return to pre-COVID levels by the end of the year, with growth predictions now up from 4% to 6.%.

The chancellor also revealed a new set of fiscal rules. He vowed to make borrowing only for investment purposes, not revenue expenditure ‘in normal times’, while underlying public sector net debt must continue to fall.

Despite a raft of generous spending commitments, the chancellor told the House of Commons: ‘My goal is to reduce taxes.’

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use image

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use

Want to reap the benefits of Commercial Cards but coming up against some challenges? James Sykes, Head of Commercial Cards, Lloyds Bank and David Legg, Head of Corporate Card Products, Lloyds Bank, discuss how the payments industry is helping organisations unlock their true value.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Independent non-executive members of proposed NHS Integrated Care Boards

Do you have the vision to shape the future of health and care for people in your area? Nationwide
Recuriter: NHS

Lead Community Protection Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37722 - £40869 per annum + value award of £2,472 per annum
2 x Lead Community Protection OfficersCommunity Protection Team(PO3 plus an incremental value award of £2,472 per annum) Permanent Our Community Prote England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

School Organisation Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£41,952- £48,663
We’re giving a platform to people inside and outside our community. Because, we’re not just home to the UK’s fast-growing economy. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Service Manager (Referral and Assessment)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£60,426 to £74,202 per annum
Can you inspire, encourage, and develop excellent social work practice to make a real difference in the lives of children and young people? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Asset Management Team Administrator

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum
The role is what you make it, and the more you put in, the bigger the difference you can make to... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue