Demanding devolved powers to claw back control of tax revenues and developing independent access to credit, with a few modifications the Commission’s recommendations could actually benefit everyone – but only if every UK city region adopted something similar.
The LGA’s warnings echo and reinforce NLGN’s own findings last month. There is a clear consensus in the sector that almost every non-statutory function that councils currently deliver is threatened.
Last week’s local elections were the most important in a generation. What the new administrations have won is the chance to oversee the deepest cuts to council budgets in living memory.
The sheer scale of the challenge facing councils means that while we need lots of good small ideas, we also need more really big ones. The point of a dangerous idea is that, while it sounds completely impractical, it might just work.
Local government will hopefully provide public health strategies centred on local need and supported by local capacity . Whether this is enough to transform healthcare in a time of declining resources and increasing demand, however, remains to be seen.
Recent weeks have seen social security cuts ignite passions and viscerally polarise politics. Benefits reform lit the touch paper for disputes on the future affordability of the welfare state. But pensioner benefits, over half of the total welfare spend, are curiously off the table for discussion.
While budgets are being balanced in the short term we know that further welfare reforms and spending cuts are just around the corner. Councils need to urgently pick up the pace of change and pilot new financial models that secure community investment for the long term.
Campaigns against local authority arts cuts, such as ‘My Theatre Matters’ are growing in momentum. They argue that the arts is more than the sum of its parts; that the Arts, done successfully, can make place.