Laura Sharman 05 September 2019

Fair Funding Review delayed until next year

The Fair Funding Review and 75% business rate retention will be delayed until 2020-21.

Following yesterday's Spending Round, local government secretary Robert Jenrick said: 'I recognise that these reforms are very important, however the priority in the short-term is clearly to provide the certainty that councils need to be able to set budgets for next year.'

The County Councils Network (CCN) said the delay was 'disappointing but understandable'.

Cllr David Williams, chairman-elect of CCN, said: 'The County Councils Network (CCN) has already set out that due to the need for short-term certainty and the current situation in Westminster, it would be willing to accept a one-year delay in these reforms in return for a commitment to implement the review as soon as practicable.

'We are therefore pleased that councils have been reassured by the Secretary of State that these reforms are very important and confirms the government’s intentions to implement them by 2021/22. This is the reassurance we have sought from ministers and we will now work with them to publish the final proposals, which so far have made good progress.

Dr Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU said: 'In terms of clarity about how local government is to be funded sustainably in the future, we are no clearer today than we were yesterday. We still don’t know the outcome of the Fair Funding Review. We still don’t know how business rate retention will work.

'This Spending Round provides funds for services. And while that is better than not funding services it is not as good as funding local government.'

Under the Spending Round, local government core spending power will increase from £46.2bn in 2019/20 to £49.1bn in 2020/21.

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