Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, comments on the Spending Review:
“The message for councils today was an incomplete one. The main local grant to government will be phased out and the Chancellor emphasised other funding sources such as council reserves. However, this ‘rainy day’ money is in fact an essential fall-back at a time when councils have already needed to grapple with the 20 per cent cuts to local government spending over the last Parliament. The extent of the reductions to council budgets sits under a question mark and we’ll need to wait until the Local Government Settlement in December to understand the full impact.
“However, there is a lot to celebrate in today’s Spending Review, which included a welcome focus on education and easing the school places crisis through investment in new school places and new school buildings. Our research shows 11,000 new primary school classrooms are needed by 2024 and this should go a considerable way toward providing our children with the quality learning environments they need and deserve.
“Infrastructure was also front and centre with the Department for Transport set for an increase in its capital investment budget. This ought to drive the infrastructure that is needed to create the much eulogised Northern Powerhouse. Driving forward the HS2 plans will be a massive step toward bringing equilibrium to the UK’s historic geographic imbalance. The Chancellor supported this with a boost to apprenticeship numbers, and their quality – another key tool in his arsenal. As ever, the proof will be in the implementation, not the rhetoric, and we look forward to seeing how these promises translate into reality.”