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Local Authorities worried about regeneration funding after Brexit

i Jun 7th No Comments by

Three quarters of local government leaders do not think the Government will reshape regional regeneration funds after Brexit, according to a new report.

PwC’s annual The Local State We’re In survey of council chief executives, finance directors and leaders shows 74% are not confident central government will engage with local government in reshaping regional investment and regeneration funds after Britain leaves the EU.

The scale of concern and difficulties facing local authorities indicates that the significant investment funds available through the GDF siting process are potentially of interest not just to disadvantaged communities, but will attract the attention of areas from all parts of the country.

Almost three quarters (72%) of those surveyed said a lack of investment in infrastructure was a key barrier to place-based growth in their area, while 61% identified a lack of influence over skills and 60% said a lack of affordable or suitable housing was also holding back growth.

Survey publisher, PwC’s head of local government Jonathan House, said:  “While local councils have done well against an ongoing course of challenges, the cliff edge for some is getting ever closer.  With another Spending Review next year, as well as the UK’s formal exit from the EU, the landscape will become incredibly tough – the resilience they have shown so far will be tested to the max.”

Anyone involved in the GDF siting process needs to be aware of sentiment and issues within the local authority sector.  Other relevant key findings from the PwC survey include:

  • although seven in 72% of council respondents were confident of delivering savings next year without impacting on quality of public service provision, that confidence wanes to 33% when
    considering the three year outlook, and plunges to just 19% when considering the next five years;
  • with further closures or service reductions likely in many areas, engaging the public on the reasons, and addressing their concerns, is another pressing issue on councils’ agendas;
  • growing recognition that digital channels will enable local authorities to engage in new ways with communities, up from 54% in 2016 and 83% in 2017 to 90% in 2018;
  • the key partners in delivering place based transformation are predominantly seen to come from the public sector;
  • a large majority of those surveyed (84%) see their council working with local LEPs and other partners to develop a local industrial strategy (spanning skills, infrastructure, innovation and business growth) to deliver a joined up approach to local growth;
  • public seems to have an appetite for more local accountability and control, with only 18% of public respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that the current balance of power between central and local government is right.

 

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