Local Spending Reports: more policy in practice

The Sustainable Communities Act, which we have worked on for the last year or so, is delivering. One of the things required by the Act is that the government publish Local Spending Reports. These are a breakdown of public spending by Local Authority area. Our coalition friends at LocalWorks have been in touch to tell us that the government has created a new interactive website for the latest set of this information, which you may find of significant interest and value. The government has had to work out a local breakdown of public spending by national and regional public bodies, so some of this information has never been available before – and none of this information has ever been available in this easy-to-access format. 

This is the second Local Spending Report that the government have produced. It is certainly an improvement on the first one which was only in spreadsheet form and contained information on far fewer public bodies. Whilst we are pleased with these improvements we will continue to push with the coalition for what Ministers and Shadow Ministers promised Parliament, which was that the Local Spending Reports will contain a Local Authority breakdown of public spending by ALL public bodies (i.e. all government departments, agencies, QUANGOs etc). This is crucial in order for communities to see how public money is actually spent in their area. 

LocalWorks pushed hard to successfully enshrine the Sustainable Communities Act (Amendment) into law this year. Over 100 local authorities submitted proposals with the backing of their citizens in the first round that took place last October, and now the ‘bottom-up’ process can be used by communities all the time. We hope that many more neighbourhoods will consider utilising this legislation to make their communities more sustainable by calling for more woodlands and places rich in trees in their local areas. As our general election manifesto has demonstrated ‘more trees = more good’ for so many reasons. This is the law that will help you get some! 

Would you use the SCA in your area? Did your local authority submit a proposal that was approved? Please share your views below and pass this on: 

  

  

 


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About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
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