Dr Jonathan Carr-West 04 December 2015

New beginnings

There was a general consensus ahead of the Spending Review that the chancellor was in a bit of tight spot, particularly in relation to welfare reform.

As Alex Salmond MSP pointed out, odds on Mr Osborne as the next prime minister had lengthened in the last week. He pirouetted through the difficult politics, U-turning merrily on tax credits, while being emollient on the level of public spending cuts which he emphasised would continue at half the rate of the last Parliament.

Of course, we are still looking at significant year-on-year reductions in public spending. For local government, much of the detail will come in the forthcoming funding settlement. The key question will be whether growth in business rates can keep track of the reduction and eventual phasing out of the Revenue Support Grant.

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