9 October 2007

Comprehensive Spending Review

The future financial health of Lewisham was embedded somewhere in today's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR07). In particular the section for Local Government is interesting.

Headline figures from the CSR include:

Departmental Expenditure Limit to grow by 1% per annum in real terms (ie after inflation) for the next five years - unfortunately this has already been planned for so does not really give additional cash for local services

Proposals to promote independence for old & vulnerable people - this is a real issue since Lewisham is looking very closely at its Adult Social Care provision at the very moment.

Extra funding to push recycling to 40% by 2010. Lewisham has a long way to go to acheive this so it's to be hoped we're in for a good settlement on this budget line.

Removal of ring-fencing from £5billion worth of grants - very much as much of an oportunity as a threat. An opportunity to spend cash in line with local priorities; a threat to our finances since it means that Central government can always refer to 'local priorities' if Lewisham is short of cash as a result of new initiatives.

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