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LGA responds to Queen's Speech
Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, responded to the Queen’s Speech announced yesterday
“It is hugely concerning that the Government has not reintroduced the Local Government Finance Bill in the Queen’s Speech. The Bill was setting out the framework towards allowing local government in England to keep all of the £26 billion in business rates it raises locally each year and providing powers for Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority to raise an Infrastructure Supplement.
“Councils are facing an overall £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020. The Government needs to commit to using its existing powers to keep working with local government to continue these vital reforms. Local government collectively must keep every penny they raise locally in taxation to spend on local services to help secure the long-term financial sustainability of councils and ease the pressure facing the public services our communities rely on. Plans to develop a fairer system of distributing funding to councils must also continue.
“We are in an unprecedented time for our country and it is clear that the coming years will bring some of the biggest challenges seen in a generation.
"The UK's exit from the European Union will have a significant impact on local government and the people we represent, creating challenges that need to be addressed but also opportunities to do things differently.
"Local government must play a central role in deciding whether to keep, amend or scrap the EU laws which impact on the council services that affect people’s day-to-day lives, once they are converted into domestic law. Brexit should not simply mean a transfer of powers from Brussels to Westminster, Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff Bay. It must lead to new legislative freedoms and flexibilities for councils so that residents and businesses benefit.
“While negotiating Brexit will be a huge challenge for the Government, it cannot be a distraction from the challenges facing our public services. The day-to-day concerns of our communities go far beyond Brexit.
“To build desperately-needed homes, create jobs and school places, provide the dignified care for our elderly and disabled and boost economic growth, all councils also need freedom from central government to be able to take decisions over vital services in their area. Only with adequate funding and the right powers can local government help the Government tackle the challenges facing our nation now and in the future.”
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