Growth and Liability: Securing Public Sector Service Delivery In the 21st Century

The Chancellor's announcement on the 5th of October at the Conservative Party Conference in relation to business rate devolution took many by surprise and has since received considerable attention in the press over the last few weeks. This was then followed by John Swinney announcing at the SNP conference that local authorities in Scotland would also be given the power to cut business rates by the end of October 2015. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, has proclaimed that, no longer will local authorities, and the local areas they represent, have to march to Central Government with a begging bowl for handouts. Two dichotomous trends are prevalent in recent commentaries. The first is positive; some local authorities and pressure groups have generally welcomed the announcement as an opportunity for local authorities to stand on their own two feet and exploit their local wealth. The second is more circumspect, concerning the potential impact of the 2020 changes, in relation to equality between areas and the potential race to the bottom following the announcement that local authorities will be able to reduce the business rate multiplier at the local level.

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