Mark Conrad 20 April 2017

General Election could delay reform of local government finance

General Election could delay reform of local government finance

Plans to roll out 100% business rates retention from April 2019 have been thrown into the air by the calling of the General Election.

Councils will have to wait to discover whether the reform of local government finance will be ready to go live from 2019/20 after the General Election disrupted the smooth passage of the Local Government Finance Bill.

Appearing before the Communities and Local Government Committee after MPs approved the 8 June General Election date, local government minister Marcus Jones admitted the Local Government Finance Bill ‘will fall’ because there was insufficient time to complete its passage into law before Parliament rises.

Asked by committee member Christopher Chope whether councils would be able to draw on full business rates retention from the planned 2019 date, Mr Jones said: ‘I’m not able to sit here today and give you an absolutely direct answer. Naturally the [Local Government Finance] Bill will fall.

'When a new government is elected, that new government will need to look at its priorities and will bring forward the legislation as it sees fit.’

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