Town halls win £24m to pay for implementing Best Value

2 Dec 99
Labour has made £24m available for councils to meet the costs of audit and inspection under the Best Value regime that comes into force in April.

03 December 1999

The new money, which will not be ring-fenced, was outlined in the local government finance settlement for 2000/01, announced by local government minister Hilary Armstrong on November 25.

This is the first time the government has announced how much money will be given to councils to meet Best Value costs. No bid for funding the initiative was included in last year's Comprehensive Spending Review because the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions forgot.

Estimates have put the total cost of the new service delivery regime at £50m. The shortfall of £26m could be made up in the form of a government grant to the Audit Commission, which is responsible for inspection under Best Value.

A spokeswoman for the commission this week said they were in discussions with the government over funding.

Armstrong said at a conference focusing on intervention and inspection on November 29 that the full costs of putting Best Value into place would be met. But she indicated only the most progressive of councils could reap financial rewards. 'The government itself will provide funds, through the revenue support grant and through grant to the Audit Commission, to meet the costs,' she said.

'We will make sure those costs fall fairly, with incentives for those who tackle Best Value in the right spirit.'

The funding for Best Value was the major surprise in the settlement. Spending on services will rise by an average of just over 4%, with education and social services the main beneficiaries.


Did you enjoy this article?