Lyons Inquiry into Local Government Funding:
Lyons Inquiry Press Notice: 20 September 2005
The Government has today announced an extension to the remit of the Sir Michael Lyons' Inquiry into Local Government Funding, to cover questions relating to the functions of local government and its future role, as well as how it is funded.
Following the Government's announcement, Sir Michael said today:
"Recommending changes to how local government should be financed cannot be disconnected from thinking about its function and its relationship with central government. Local and central government share a common goal in finding a sensible long-term settlement that supports high quality local services which are responsive to local needs.
"For any package of funding reforms to be successful, the public must be able to understand them in the context of what local government does. My research so far shows the public have a weak understanding of what local government does and how it is funded. This is partly due to shared and confused responsibility for local services, and a funding system which is one of the most complex in the world. There is no 'golden key' solution to local government funding. However I am optimistic we can find a way forward.
"I welcome this extension to my remit, which has the potential not only to improve services and public understanding, but also to improve the vitality of communities, and their ability to determine their own future. I would encourage central government, local government, local communities and businesses to engage in the debate and rise to the challenge and opportunities it offers".
The Inquiry will publish the research it has commissioned so far, together with a summary of issues arising from evidence submitted on funding issues, in autumn 2005. Sir Michael will produce his final report in late 2006 to inform the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Notes for editors
- Sir Michael Lyons was originally commissioned in July 2004 by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor to make recommendations on how to reform the local government funding system by December 2005. The Inquiry is on schedule to meet this original deadline. However, the Inquiry is now being extended to allow Sir Michael to consider issues of local government role and function before finalising his conclusions on funding.
- Sir Michael is today writing to his stakeholders to thank them for their input to his Inquiry so far. This includes over 450 written submissions to the Inquiry, as well as extensive consultations which have seen Sir Michael meet stakeholders in each of the English regions and Wales, and detailed meetings with a range of experts.
- Sir Michael's letter explains his belief that reform of the funding system needs to be preceded by greater clarity about what local government does and who is responsible for local services, and that his work on the complex issues of local government finance issues will be finalised in light of his extended work on the function of local government.
- Website for the Lyons Inquiry is - www.lyonsinquiry.org
- Contact details for Press Enquiries is: 020 7217 3779 (fax: 020 7217 3785).