Chancellor confirms Towns Fund cash in Spending Review

The Chancellor has pledged to give the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government £241m from the Towns Fund, as part of the Spending Review to support regeneration.

Speaking today (September 4) in Parliament, Mr Javid told MPs the government is ‘turning the page on austerity’ and ‘beginning a new decade of renewal’.

Although there was no mention of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which is due to replace EU regeneration funds after Brexit, Mr Javid confirmed that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s latest financial settlement from the Treasury includes a total of £241m from the Towns Fund in 2020-21 to support the ‘regeneration of high streets, town centres and local economies’.

The settlement also includes £422m to help reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, including an additional £54m in 2020-21.

And there is to be an extra £24m for the Building Safety Programme to support the new building safety regime.

The government is also set to provide an extra £46m for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The chancellor also said that councils will have access to a further £1.5bn for social care – £1bn through a new central government grant and £500m through the adult social care precept.

The Department for Transport’s settlement also includes more than £200m of increased funding to transform bus services, making best use of technology and promoting decarbonisation.

And the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is to get an extra £30m to improve air quality.

‘We won’t be able to afford everything, and we’ll need to prioritise investment in policies that deliver real productivity gains and boost economic growth in the long term,’ said the chancellor.

But Labour’s John McDonnell dismissed it as a ‘sham of a spending review’.

‘Any new money for local government today will be a drop in the ocean compared to the 60% of their funding which councils have lost in recent years,’ said the shadow chancellor.

Commenting on the Spending Review, the chief executive of the LGiU, Dr. Jonathan Carr-West said: ‘The chancellor billed today’s spending round as an end to austerity. And while it’s true that local government has seen its biggest spending increase in a decade, the Chancellor should not expect too many plaudits from councils across the country. This additional money does not undo a decade of cuts that bled councils dry.

‘In terms of clarity about how local government is to be funded sustainably in the future, we are no clearer today than we were yesterday. We still don’t know the outcome of the Fair Funding Review. We still don’t know how business rate retention will work.’

And the chief executive of Localis, Jonathan Werran added: ‘The well-rehearsed social care funding announcement, offering councils access to £1.5bn, and it’s framing as a down-payment for future reforms will come as some measure of relief to local government, but comes in the absence of any further solid determinations on long-term funding reform.’

Photo Credit – UK government

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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