The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance has published its 10-year reform plan for local government, setting out a two-speed approach to devolution.
Under the proposals, all councils would have multi-year funding settlements, freedom over council tax setting, retain 100% of business rates and rules on fees and charges should be relaxed.
However, it also calls for ‘pioneer’ authorities to be given place-based budgets over all public services and the chance to equalise funding sub-nationally.
‘Local government and the services it provides are on a cliff-edge,’ warned Darra Singh, chair of the Commission.
‘This Commission has set out a path to English devolution which we believe is the only way to save public services in an era of reduced public spending and rising demand.
‘It is clear that if we want local services to survive and support a thriving national economy, a radical devolution of powers, funding and taxes to local areas is urgently needed.’
The report also calls for an independent review before the next spending period, the establishment of local public accounts committees and a governance structure to address concerns.