Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, hits back against the cuts the budget brings to Plymouth
"Over the last year George Osborne announced more cuts to support for local councils, saying that the gap would be made up by councils getting more business rates by 2020.
At the moment everybody pays into a national pot; business rates are collected by councils locally, set by government nationally, and then redistributed around the country, because some parts of the country are weaker economically than London is. As it stands George Osborne’s proposal today is to let London keep all of the money it raises meaning none of that money will be available for distribution to the rest of the country, including areas like the South West.
To make matters worse he has also announced today that there is to be a cut in the business rate even though councils have assumed there will be no cut as part of their budget making proposals over the next 3 years. That will mean huge holes in budgets across every local authority outside of London. The pressure will be felt most keenly on adult social care budgets, but every council service will be affected.
Last but not least, it makes a mockery of devolution deals - those already negotiated and those in the process of negotiation. The initial bribe from Osborne was that only elected mayors would be able to increase or decrease the rate of business rates in their locality. But his declaration that everyone everywhere will see a reduction in business rates would seem to make a mockery of all of those who have agreed to have an elected mayor on the basis that they would have that freedom. Not only is his economic policy in tatters but his massive mess of a devolution policy would seem to have hit the buffers today.”