APSE Chief Executive, Mo Baines, has cautiously welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget measures which will improve the position of the local authority leisure sector in bringing forward both revenue support for the ongoing energy costs crisis hitting the sector, in particular swimming facilities, and the much-needed injection of capital for long-term transition to greener facilities. However the long-term position of the local authority leisure sector, remains fragile. APSE also welcomed additional funding for roads and highways. However, it is disappointing that there has been no significant improvement in funding for adult care, which drains resources from other council frontline services, in order to meet statutory requirements in care.
Welcoming the changes in pension tax rules, Baines added, “The brain drain in local government has not been helped by outdated treatment of pension tax rules which has had a negative impact on local government – leaving the sector vulnerable to losing some its most experienced executive managers, in a similar way to the impact upon the NHS. Whilst these changes will hopefully address the recruitment and retention issues for higher earners, it is nevertheless disappointing that the many low paid workers in local government will continue to see more of their pay taxed as a result of the overall fiscal drag by the Chancellor’s failure to increase the bottom end of the tax thresholds”.