Responding to the Spring Statement 2019 APSE is disappointed that the Chancellor failed to take the opportunity to confirm an end date to austerity, particularly given the dire state of local government finance. Whilst we are hopeful that the forthcoming comprehensive spending review, will address the issues of quantum and distribution of our public finances, the on-going uncertainty over Brexit – and the impact of any potential economic downturn on demands on local council frontline services – remains a core concern for our member local councils. There is no visible end to austerity so far for our member local councils. We would urge the Chancellor to use the CSR consultation leading up to the summer, as an opportunity to genuinely listen to local government and work through the means to ensure adequate future funding. We also welcome the assurances that CSR will be set on a three year basis to allow better medium term planning for council finances which will clearly be dependent upon the long awaited Green paper on social care.
We welcome the Chancellors announcements in reviewing the links between biodiversity and economic growth – a point which APSE has consistently argued in developing economic measures that take a holistic approach to economic growth. We also welcome the commitment to ensure future housing is not reliant upon fossil fuel heating systems; however to achieve this local councils must be at the heart of the future of housing.
Paul O’Brien said “To develop the scale and quality of homes fit for the future we need a mass council house building programme which ensures our future housing addresses fuel poverty but also creates lifetime homes. We cannot achieve these aims if we are reliant upon the current developer led systems of delivery. Putting local councils at the heart of delivery, and as standard setters, as they have historically been, will create the golden thread between renewable energy, sustainable housing delivery and local economic growth”.
To arrange for interview or further comment please contact Mo Baines on 0161 772 1810 or Mbaines@apse.org.uk