HC Communities and Local Government Committee: 100 per cent retention of business rates – Issues for consideration: this interim report focuses on plans to bring in the reformed business rates scheme in 2020. It concludes that the Government must address a range of issues, including problems with appeals and withdrawing Revenue Support Grant, before bringing in 100% business rates retention for councils. The Committee found that the impact of appeals by ratepayers is dwarfing increases in business rates revenue and affecting growth incentives, with local authorities setting aside substantial sums of money, often for long periods of time, in case an appeal is successful. The interim report also states that without RSG it will prove difficult to provide a system which gives incentives to growth and looks after those authorities with particular need. It calls on the Government to specify how it will protect councils which rely on redistributed business rates and are worried that they will lose out under the new system. The Committee hopes DCLG will consider the report ahead of its consultation on business rates proposals this summer. Once this is complete, the Committee will invite DCLG Ministers to give evidence before making a final report. (14 June 2016)

NAO: Financial sustainability of local authorities - Capital expenditure and resourcing: this report finds that local authorities in England have maintained their overall capital spending levels, but face pressure to meet debt servicing costs and to maintain investment levels in their existing asset bases. While local authorities have acted prudently and maintained overall capital spending levels, the cost of servicing debts accounts for a significant share of revenue spending and this is likely to increase.  DCLG needs a deeper understanding of the capital issues that local authorities face as without an understanding of broader trends, it will not be well-placed to anticipate risks to value for money as authorities come under greater financial pressure. (15 June 2016)

IPPR: Better rates – How to ensure the new business rates regime promotes growth everywhere: this report analyses the new 100% retained business rates scheme, based on the Government's statements to date. It makes recommendations for an alternative "growth first" system that more effectively ensures all local authorities are incentivised to grow their local economies, and are rewarded for doing so. (19 June 2016)