Three in 10 councils in south east England are not ruling out a section 114 notice over coming year, finds poll

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4th May 2021 16:40 - Local Government

Three in 10 councils in south east England are not ruling out a section 114 notice over coming year: A survey of local councils in the South East has found that 30% are not ruling out a section 114 notice in the next 12 months - which means, in brief, an admission that a balanced budget is not possible.

The survey polled a third of the council chief executives in the region (22 in total), in April 2021, made up of 13 from district councils, seven from unitaries and two from counties. It found that while nearly a quarter could neither agree nor disagree that they could not rule out a section 114 notice (23%), 7% agreed that they could not rule it out.

The research also questioned respondents about their preferences when it comes to devolution from central government. When asked where further devolved powers should be focussed (multiple choice), the vast majority (86%) said they should go to local authorities, while more than a third (36%) said new voluntary combined authorities, and almost a quarter (23%) said local enterprise partnerships.

When asked about the policy areas they believed devolved powers should focus on, the top answers given were 'housebuilding and planning' along with the 'ability to raise and spend taxes locally' - both with 86%.

The survey also found that 86% believe that the environment should be prioritised for investment if more fiscal devolution was given.

*A section 114 notice, is described as: “The chief finance officer of a relevant authority shall make a report under this section if it appears to him that the expenditure of the authority incurred (including expenditure

it proposes to incur) in a financial year is likely to exceed the resources (including sums borrowed) available to it to meet that expenditure”.



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