Response to the Local Government Resource Review consultation

01 October 2011

Councils play a crucial role in the economic, social and environmental well-being of people, businesses and communities. They have an important leadership role, an in-depth knowledge of their local areas and are responsible for a wide range of issues and services which affect people's lives. North East councils individually and collectively have economic development at the heart of their activities and are committed to creating the conditions necessary for business to invest and grow.

We recognise the need for a review of local government finance and support mechanisms which would lead to greater financial autonomy and increase local decision-making. We support the view that any new system must deliver fairness, equality and equity, enabling all councils to provide a good level of service for people, no matter who they are, or where they live. We believe it should also provide genuine incentives for all authorities to grow their economies, recognise variations between different areas, and be able to produce positive benefits that can be felt across the country.

There are some significant and far reaching implications of the Government's proposed reforms for localisation of Business Rates. We would urge the Government to ensure that sufficient time is taken to consider the potential consequences and to secure a fair deal for all authorities. There are still a range of unknowns and uncertainties and a risk that authorities in areas with strong economies will grow rapidly at the expense of those whose economies are weaker - creating a spiral of decline.

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