More power for councils

Today the Local Government Association published its document Closer to People and Places. The LGA, a mouthpiece for local authorities, is adding its voice to the Lyons Inquiry (see previous posting), the Conservatives and LibDems who are all calling for more power for local authorities and for the abolition of Brown’s sandpit in which councils have to go cap in hand for silly little grants from the Treasury rather than being able to raise taxes locally and spend them how they see fit locally.

Key points are:

  • Slashing 1,000 targets to save taxpayers £2.5billion
  • Giving councils extra powers including over transport, infrastructure, planning, economic development and skills
  • A return of the local Business Rates with an inflation safeguard so they have freedom in raising revenue and setting their budgets
  • The power for local people to hold NHS chief executives, police chiefs and council leaders to account if they consistently perform poorly
  • Dedicated budgets for ward councillors to spend on local projects
  • Greater ‘postcode choice’
  • Opposition to any proposals by central government to cut the number of councils or councillors

Philip Johnston in the Telegraph today adds his opinion to the debate.

The current regime is costing us all big time. I will be asking our officers to work out how much the current regime costs in Ealing.

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