Budget takeaways

More nutritious than the budget?

People far cleverer than us were making their pronouncements on yesterday’s budget almost as soon as it had left George Osborne’s red box. We were never going to match that so instead have produced our budget takeaways:

False promise of the day:

The Chancellor announced that he wants a ‘simpler tax system where people understand what they need to pay’… Perhaps he was going to announce a bold new proposal for the design of local taxes that links payment locally to service delivery? Nope, he just meant publishing a pie chart similar to the ones in local government council tax bills… At least we’re trailblazers right?

Sort of good news announcement of the day:

From the LGIU:

The Government will provide £30 million to local authorities in England towards the transitional costs to new local support schemes for council tax’

But won’t provide more money to meet, you know, the benefits that are being cut. Helpful for local government; no respite for the people who are about to lose their benefit.

Unfathomable thought of the day

Did we just witness a budget where the individual in my council who benefited the most from it was my Chief Executive? Really? No, really?

Trailed ‘big announcement’ that was actually only the same as what we’ve had before:

According to the BBC:

Government evidence to be published on the case for regional public sector pay. Option for government departments to move to regional pay structures for civil servants when current freeze ends.’

So, after all that we just get another review; honestly George stop doing things just to wind us up!

Non-localist minor (but important) announcement of the day:

Thanks to LGIU we bring you:

The Government will introduce in 2012-13, a 20 basis points (bps) discount on loans from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) under the prudential borrowing regime for those principal local authorities providing improved information and transparency on their locally-determined long-term borrowing and associated capital spending plans. The Government will also work with the local authority sector to consider the potential for an independent body to facilitate the provision of PWLB lending at a further reduced rate, to authorities demonstrating best quality and value for money.

In other words we’ll let you have a discount in your borrowing rate (which will still be higher than that we borrow at) but only if you do what we say… Thank goodness for localism!

Moment of the day:

Local Government staff disappearing off to the local shop to stock up on cigarettes before the 37p increase kicks in.

So, let me get this straight; you’ll run across the road and stock up on ciggys to save a one off  £1.11 on three packets but won’t save £30 a week by quitting?

Question of the day:

Is there any point in having a budget when all the information is in the public domain (or on Robert Peston’s blog) before George starts speaking? I know the coalition believe in open Government but com’mon…

Welovelocalgovernment is a blog written by UK local government officers. If you have a piece you’d like to submit or any comments you’d like to make please drop us a line at: welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com

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