Nearly all councils submit plan for four-year funding deal, says Javid

9 Nov 16

Nearly every council has signed up for a four-year funding settlement by filing an efficiency plan with the Department for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid has revealed.

Speaking to the County Councils Network on Monday, the local government secretary said: “We asked you to put forward efficiency plans and sign up for four-year funding settlements.

“And nearly every council in England has done exactly that, including almost all of you here this evening. It’s a great step forward that means more certainty for councils and better services for taxpayers.”

Javid also said he was open to reorganisation proposals, such as that put forward by Buckinghamshire County Council to abolish its districts and form a county unitary.

This proposal was “exactly the kind of proactive, locally driven thinking I want to see”, he said.

While not committing commit himself on Buckinghamshire’s plan, he said: “Unitary status can be a great model…but I’m not for one moment saying it’s for everyone. This is not compulsory. It’s not going to be imposed.

However, he dashed hopes that he would allow devolution in county areas without the creation of elected mayoralties.

Former chancellor George Osborne had insisted on mayors as a condition of devolution deals but after his departure some county leaders hoped to change this policy.

Javid told the CCN: “I get that directly elected mayors aren’t universally popular within local government. And I know that’s especially true of the counties.”

He recognised arguments that counties were too large for one person to control but said: “I’m not going to devolve significant new powers and more taxpayers’ money without a corresponding increase in local accountability.”

Mayoralties would be “a real red line for me when it comes to negotiating devolution deals”, he added.

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