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18th March 2015

Solace response to the 2015 Budget

On 18 March 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered the 2015 Budget. This is a statement from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace) in response.

This Budget reminds us of the formidable task facing public services in the next Parliament. Whoever forms the next Government, we need a radical new approach if we are to protect the local public services people rely on. Martin Swales, Solace Spokesperson on Economic Prosperity and Housing and Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council, said:

“The Chancellor’s announcements on enterprise zones are a step forward. The flexibilities will provide an important means by which local authorities can contribute to greater economic growth.

However, to create a step change and truly rebalance the economy, greater levels of devolution are needed, like those announced today for West Yorkshire. We must ensure that local authorities have all the necessary powers to create prosperity at a local level and support growth of the national economy.

Devolution provides longer-term certainty and wide-ranging powers to establish strategic investment models, stimulate jobs growth, build new homes, structure local skills solutions and create long term transport infrastructure plans.”

Paul Martin, Solace spokesperson for Local Government Finance and Chief Executive of LB Wandsworth said:

“The review of business rates is a positive step forward. We need a system that is fair to all local businesses and which does not assume an out-dated model of economic performance overly focussed on physical assets. We also need a system that strengthens the link between business rates and local councils so that success can be reinvested locally.

The Chancellor’s announcement that Greater Manchester will keep 100% of business rates growth is also a positive step towards creating a future finance system for local government that is sustainable.”

Phil Norrey, Solace spokesperson for Children and Families and Chief Executive of Devon County Council, said:

“We are particularly pleased to see the Government’s announcement today of a significant increase in the funding toward Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The Taskforce report released yesterday was an important moment. It set out a clear direction for change and was met with a sense of real, shared commitment to improve these services. Any incoming Government must work with councils, the health service, schools and others to deliver this improvement.”