"It is good that the Chancellor has acted on council calls for funding and measures to widen employment support, improve local roads, protect swimming pools from rising costs and funding for vital regeneration efforts."
Responding to the Budget, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils across England and Wales, said:
“It is good that the Chancellor has acted on council calls for funding and measures to widen employment support, improve local roads, protect swimming pools from rising costs and funding for vital regeneration efforts. Lower borrowing rates for councils will also provide a boost for vital council housebuilding projects.
“A third round of levelling up funding will give councils the opportunity to forge ahead with ambitious plans to transform their communities and unlock potential for more local growth. However, we remain clear that levelling up should be locally led by evidence of where crucial investment needs to go to, not based on costly competitive bids between areas.
“Given this is a ‘back-to-work’ Budget, it is disappointing there is no further investment in adult social care, public health and children’s services, which all play a vital role in supporting economic growth and helping people back into work, alongside boosting people’s health and wellbeing.
“We are pleased the Government has acted on our calls for investment in early years education and childcare. Councils have a duty to ensure sufficiency of local provision and so will need to be given a key role in making sure they succeed. Delivering on today’s announcements will also require significant investment into the workforce and early years’ facilities.
“Every local economy is different, and people can find themselves ‘economically inactive’ for different reasons. With control over fragmented and disjointed national employment and skills funding and schemes, councils could build on their track record of helping get people back into the workplace - including those who are furthest from the jobs market - and plugging growing skills gaps.
“We want to work with government on a long-term funding plan which ensures councils have adequate resources to deliver local services for our communities. Alongside sustainable long-term investment in local services, bringing power and resources closer to people is also key to improving lives and building inclusive growth across the country, and many more places are ambitious to follow in the footsteps of the devolution trailblazers which are a positive step towards more local decision making.”