Public services pressure must remain government focus, says CIPFA

9 Jun 17

Central government focus must remain on public service pressures whatever happens with the current administration, CIPFA has said.

Finding sustainable solutions for issues with the public sector must also be a central consideration in the negotiations with Europe, chief executive Rob Whiteman added.

 “Theresa May had called this election intending to create a solid mandate for the Brexit negotiations, but as campaigning progressed, attention also then centred on domestic issues such as the affordability of social care, education funding and, following the atrocities in Manchester and London, national security,” Whiteman said.

“Whilst the new government's fate and tenure will feel uncertain, we need a strong focus on sustainable solutions for public service pressures. 

“As importantly, public services must be a central consideration as we negotiate our future relationship with Europe.”

Adam Lent, director of the New Local Government Network, said key policies issues should not be forgotten.

 “Whatever the outcome of the election, the big challenges facing the country and hence local government still exist,” he explained.

“It is vital that political uncertainty is not allowed to translate into paralysis on fundamental concerns such as social care, housing and public service funding.

“There is a great obligation on Westminster politicians now to find a workable way forward as quickly as possible and not let policy drift.” 

Jo Miller, president of Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace), said: “Recent weeks have demonstrated that our shared challenges spread far beyond an obsession with Brexit negotiations.

“We hope a government, of whatever composition, is formed quickly to provide stability and purpose.”

The Public and Commercial Services Union said the positive result for Labour was a vindication of Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity platform.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka also said: “Planning for Brexit in the civil service is chaotic. Cuts in civil service staffing must end, and more resources must be pumped in urgently.

“Theresa May has no mandate for further attacks on public servants’ pay and jobs.”

Paul Dossett, head of local government at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “Whilst a hung parliament can create uncertainty, it is also an opportunity for politicians and wider stakeholders to reach out and agree on a set of goals that provide national clarity.

"It is in the national interest for politicians to put aside differences and agree some common national principles for addressing the big challenges we as a country face. All of us have a responsibility - private, public, third sector and communities - to work together and with government and politicians towards this.

“The result reinforces the importance of finding the right solution for places on an individual basis, rather than taking a one size fits all policy from the centre. Local Government will need to continue to carefully balance the different generational needs of their residents in areas such as social care and housing development.”

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