A budget for transformation?

WRITTEN BY Local Partnerships
POSTED ON 28th May 2015

The Chancellor is planning for the UK to return to budget surplus in 2019-20 one year later than previously proposed.  At the same time, the projected welfare savings have been offset by additional healthcare spending and a minimum 2% of GDP will be spent on defence.  Non ring-fenced departments and the local government sector are set to feel an ever greater squeeze.  Only £17 billion of the £37 billion savings required were identified on the 8th July…

alistair article Necessity is said to be the mother of invention and Local Partnerships is working with several local authorities undertaking transformation programmes and far-reaching efficiency reviews to ensure services are (re)designed with the user in mind and make best use of available resources.  This work encompasses organisational change, revenue generation (e.g. through trading activities), joint working (including the use of Combined Authorities and Economic Prosperity Boards) and unlocking savings from renegotiating high-value complex contracts with suppliers.  Our energy efficiency programme (RE:FIT) is being adopted by more public sector bodies.

The UK’s productivity challenge is evidently on the Chancellor’s mind.  The focus has shifted away from new economic infrastructure as the driver of growth and productivity towards a greater role for devolution, with the Northern Powerhouse at the heart of ambition to rebalance the UK economy.

Devolution will grant new city regions significant additional powers and greater autonomy in how they support local economic growth, contingent upon the establishment of an elected mayor.  In addition to Greater Manchester, the budget made reference to devolution deals for the Sheffield and Liverpool city regions, Leeds, West Yorkshire and partner authorities, and Cornwall.

The budget contained further commitments and funding for:
•    Local authority estate rationalisation
•    Development of social impact bonds
•    Enterprise Zones (new bidding round)

Local Partnerships is closely involved in each of these areas, working with local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, and public sector spin-outs, and welcomes these announcements.

Local government will be expected to absorb large cuts while continuing to deliver essential services and promote economic growth.  The good news is that the government appears serious about giving councils greater autonomy with which to achieve this.

For more information, please contact Alastair Watson on 07812 587 045 or alastair.watson@localpartnerships.gov.uk

⬆️ Strategic Director Martin Forbes writes for the MJ about levelling up and how to negotiate the challenges ahead. Join members of our bid review team for a webinar on 13 December to look at these issues further. Register here: https://t.co/PTCAtzOiCM

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