Sir Stephen Houghton

  • The uncertainty principle

    13 June 2023

    Council finances are fragile after 13 years of cuts and an extended period of uncertainty, and multi-year settlements would be a key way to make progress, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton.

  • Cash is key to invest in prevention

    25 April 2023

    Children’s services need the same attention as adult social care, and the £2.6bn set out in the MacAlister review should be the starting point for investment, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton

  • Why levelling up is on life support

    30 November 2022

    Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton says it is the poorest and most vulnerable who rely on local services and, after 10 years of cuts, councils should not still be in a position where these are at risk.

  • A defining moment for levelling up

    08 November 2022

    Sir Stephen Houghton warns Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have some huge economic choices to make, but with the Autumn Statement looming it is vital local government funding is protected if the levelling up agenda is to make progress

  • The inclusion of councils in the Energy Bill Relief Scheme is good news

    23 September 2022

    Support for councils’ energy bills is welcome but inflation continues to impact and will still place extraordinary pressure on local authority budgets this winter, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton.

  • Queen’s Speech: ‘levelling up’ let down

    25 May 2022

    Sir Stephen Houghton says we must not see blame being levelled on those areas who are not able to meet the levelling up mission targets – 'when it is in fact that local areas are not being given a penny by the Government to be able to reach them'.

  • White Paper has welcome ambition but fails to mention role of austerity

    25 February 2022

    Even if the Government streamlines funding arrangements it will not be able to achieve any of the Levelling Up White Paper missions unless the scale of intervention drastically increases, says Stephen Houghton.

  • Inflation’s a concern for councils and residents

    01 February 2022

    Councils and residents are facing severe price rises that will hit the more deprived hardest, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton.

  • This settlement is very much a stop gap

    20 December 2021

    Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton of SIGOMA says a ‘stopgap’ settlement with a welcome funding boost needs to be followed by a fair funding review that supports the Government’s levelling up agenda.

  • Welcome words on business rates should be backed up in settlement

    14 December 2021

    The secretary of state now has a real opportunity to improve matters by introducing a business rates ‘re-set’ as part of the provisional settlement, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton.

  • Spending Review is another missed chance on ‘levelling up’

    09 November 2021

    While we still await detail behind the Spending Review headlines, what we do know raises serious questions about the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton.

  • Spending Review fails to deliver for local government or levelling up

    01 November 2021

    Despite heralding the largest increase in core funding for councils in a decade, the chancellor has failed to deliver sustainable funding for local government, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton

  • Expect tax double whammy on residents to pay for social care

    30 September 2021

    After a long wait, the Government’s announcements offer nothing for local authorities or the care sector, says Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton.

  • Why we’re being levelled down

    01 September 2021

    Levelling up should be about quality sustainable public services supporting those most in need, according to Sir Stephen Houghton. But, he points out, the deficit faced by SIGOMA member councils is more than £350m in this financial year.

  • Business rates are past their sell-by date

    25 January 2021

    Business rates are an unsustainable way to fund local government, argues chair of SIGOMA Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, and he believes what cannot be delivered locally from council tax should be met from national taxation.

  • Spending review: Treading water next year is our best hope

    30 November 2020

    Chair of SIGOMA Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton says Spending Review 2020 is a missed opportunity ‘and will mean the best that many of our councils can hope for next year is treading water’,

  • The business rates system needs to go

    18 September 2020

    Today is the deadline for the call for evidence for the Treasury’s  review of business rates. Rather than tinkering with the current system, it needs to go, writes Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton. 

  • Budget 2020: If this is a national crisis it's one many of us felt was already underway

    13 March 2020

    Local agendas should prevail, according to chair of SIGOMA Sir Stephen Houghton – but he says the headline capital aspirations in the Budget seem to harbour real ambition beyond already thriving areas.

  • Fair redistribution must play a continuing part in council funding

    18 December 2019

    SIGOMA chair Sir Stephen Houghton trusts ministers will ‘recognise the key role that councils must play in their ambition for a united and equal nation’ - and Government should commit to supporting the same level of service across the country.