banner image
News release

Spring Budget 2023: Public sector response

Phillip Woolley, Head of Public Sector Consulting, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

"Levelling Up remained a core focus in today’s Budget, with trailblazer areas getting more power to make local decisions on critical elements such as transport and skills, and the announcement of 12 new investment zones.

“The direction of travel is clear, with focused pockets of further devolution giving greater autonomy to these local leaders, empowering them to address local challenges and seize the opportunities available to deliver sustainable local growth. However, the needs of local areas differ greatly across the UK and this move towards a more place-based approach is still too narrowly focused on just a handful of select regions, with a lack of clarity on what this means for devolution across the rest of the country.  

“As their powers grow, local leaders will likely face increased scrutiny and heightened expectations to deliver. They will need to focus on ensuring that there is transparency in their actions, adequate capacity and capabilities to deliver on any promises made, and that any commitments are backed up by clear KPIs and monitored closely with appropriate governance arrangements.

“With less than £1billion of additional funding for Levelling Up announced today - the main challenge remains the availability of funding to deliver meaningful change in our local areas.

“While there is a long-term commitment to the trailblazer areas retaining 100% of their business rates, the Budget failed to provide greater financial sustainability for the rest of the public sector, and uncertainty remains around key issues such as local government funding.

Copy text of article