The Chancellor announced the Government’s “commitment to invest in Britain’s future” in his March 2017 budget. The focus was on reducing public sector net borrowing over, and beyond, the life of this parliament “building foundations for a stronger, fairer Britain”. There were perhaps fewer announcements than might have been hoped for, given the recent positive economic reports.
What are the key points of interest to local authorities and the wider public sector? Here is our digest of the budget:
Growth upgraded to 2% for 2017-18
Corporation tax down to 17% by 2020
Changes to class 4 national insurance contributions and tax free allowance for self-employed workers
Three measures were announced to reduce the impact of changes to Business Rates including caps on increases for those losing Business Rate relief, relief for pubs with a rateable value of under £100k and a £300 million discretionary relief fund for local authorities
New deals with London and the West Midlands; more details to be announced alongside the Mayoral elections in six cities in May
Additional money to the Department for Education to invest in sports and healthy living programmes funded by the sugar tax
Funding for 110 new free schools and powers to allow universities and independent schools to sponsor new free schools
£210 million new funding to invest in schools estate
Additional funding for roads; £90 million northern powerhouse, £23 million for the midlands engine and £220 million for congestion pinch points. There will also be a £690 million urban congestion fund for local authorities
Funding for 5G and full fibre - £16 million for a 5G mobile hub and £200 million to support leverage of private capital into full fibre
Health and social care
£2 billion grant funding for social care over three years, of which £1 billion will be for 2017/18 to allow “local authorities to act now to form new care packages”
Measures to support reform will be detailed in a green paper later in the year.
Announcement of a new capital programme to support sustainable transformation plans – £325 million allocated for the first projects
Funding for devolved authorities
£350 million to Scotland
£200 million for the Welsh Government
£120 million to Northern Ireland
Clearly the public sector remains under pressure to deliver services, maintain and improve standards, as well as achieve efficiencies and savings.
We work with local and national government and other public sector organisations to deliver effective, timely and affordable solutions to the challenges you face.
To discuss how we can support you strengthen and develop your growth and business plans, transform and bolster your service provision, and deliver major projects please get in touch with our highly experienced and professional team.