Dan Peters 06 December 2013

Think tank: Autumn Statement was curate's egg for cities

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement was a 'curate's egg' for cities, a think tank has concluded.

Centre for Cities, which is dedicated to independent research and policy analysis on UK urban economies, welcomed the city deals for Greater Cambridge and Glasgow, as well as the measures to boost housing and growth.

But chief executive Alexandra Jones said many of the policies announced were ‘likely to fall short as they don’t take into account local variation or enable local areas to adapt policy according to their particular needs’.

Ms Jones said: ‘Reducing the deficit, building more homes and boosting business are all vital to national economic growth but unless we radically rethink how we empower places to tailor policies to their own needs these initiatives are unlikely to have the intended impact.

‘Local government may have been protected from further cuts and not be expected to contribute to a £3bn savings target over the next three years, but that’s on the basis that they are expected to freeze council tax.

‘Some places will struggle to afford this: a number of councils I’ve spoken to are currently planning to increase council tax because, although in the short-term they lose the government grant available for authorities that comply, over the medium to long-term they cannot afford to lose out on the additional revenue.’

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