Norse Group

A series of frank and wide-ranging discussions, addressing the key political, social and environmental issues affecting the public sector. read less


Episode 8: Is it too late to fix public finances?
Apr 8 2024
Episode 8: Is it too late to fix public finances?
In the latest Norse groupchat podcast, CEO Justin Galliford talks with Jonathan Werran, head of Think Tank Localis, reflecting on the last 12 months challenges for public finances in the context of the number of local council Section 114 notices, and the extreme demographic of services pressures.They discuss their thoughts on the round of party conferences they attended, and address the question ‘is it too late to fix public finances?’, the possible benefits of some sort of triage of public finances in order to provide a level of sustainability in the medium term, and the impact of not necessarily ‘bad decision making’ but of the cost against revenue pressures.They ask, ‘have a succession of parties really focussed on the key issues and relationship with local government?’, and the discuss the inefficiencies of distributing money from central to local authorities. Jonathan suggests a ‘whole-place, public service integration reform agenda’ is needed, with the ability of local government to raise local taxes, and compares the systems of other northern European countries.Finally, the benefits to local government finance of ‘multi-year settlements’ that provide funding certainty and longer-term investment in local skills and infrastructure are discussed, along with what, ahead pf the next general election, they would like to see in the upcoming party manifestoes in relation to public service funding at all levels.