Budget must tackle public finance stresses, says CIPFA

17 Nov 17

Next week’s Budget offers an opportunity to address the financial strains affecting the public sector, CIPFA said today.

Issuing its recommendations for the Autumn Budget, the institute also called for greater investment in affordable housing, a review of how welfare reforms impacts individuals and services they rely on and long-term planning for health and social care services.

Last month’s CIPFA and IfG Performance Tracker warned that the government is trapped in a reactive spending cycle on public services and that £10bn of emergency funding would be needed just to keep “troubled” services going.

Rob Whiteman chief executive of the institute said: “CIPFA continues to urge the government to understand the impact of previous spending decisions on public services in terms of efficiency, scope and quality. 

 “There needs to be a better understanding of the performance of, and the pressure on public services before making future policy and resourcing decisions. It is more important than ever that funds are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Specific recommendations also included linking social care spending to a percentage of GDP, more devolution and greater coherence on plans to shift to 100% business rates retention so vital services can be put on a more sustainable footing.

Brexit is also a cause for concerns and CIPFA urged the government to consider risks and opportunities to the public sector. These include an end to EU funding, restrictions on migration and the likelihood of EU citizens leaving the UK.

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