OK, Who’d Like To Tell Polly What Local Councils Shouldn’t Do?

Polly Toynbee rages at the ConDem ‘localism’ plans:

Sigoma, the municipal authorities group, says that if councils were all allowed to keep their business rates, the City of London would gain £517m. Together, the Tory boroughs of the City, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea would gain £1.6bn. Who would be the losers? Birmingham would lose £175m, Hackney £116m, Liverpool £104m – and Cornwall £45m.

It’s as if she believes they have some sort of right to money creamed off the wealthy boroughs, isn’t it?

Worse is to come when £4.8bn of council tax credit is cut by 10% and handed to councils to decide what, if any, benefit to pay out. Surrey might decide to pay none and use the cash for tax cuts. Liverpool would never steal this £15 a week or more from its poorest residents, so would have less still to spend on other services.

Well, that’ll make people think twice before they vote, then, won’t it? My vote would go to the one who pledged not to send my money elsewhere, as would, I suspect, most people’s.

…Phil Coppard, the outspoken chief executive of Barnsley council, points out that any change to the distribution of business rates means “stripping money from northern authorities to pour into the south”.

No, it won’t. It’ll mean no longer funnelling money from the south into the north.

It’s not like anyone’s planning a raid on the north’s coffers, is it?

Pickles asserts that central grants “act as a disincentive to growth”, making poor councils sluggish, but Coppard replies angrily: “There is nothing, absolutely nothing we do not do to try to create growth here already.”

Well, you certainly do a lot to create growth in local government jobs, but I don’t see how that really helps

With councils drained of cash, what should they no longer do?

Well, over to you, readers. Just what should they no longer do?

11 comments for “OK, Who’d Like To Tell Polly What Local Councils Shouldn’t Do?

  1. January 11, 2012 at 10:39 am

    For far too long, many councils (mainly but not only Labour-run ones) have indulged themselves in all manner of non-council activities, and of course dishing out public money to their buddies and supporters.

    A better approach than working out what to stop is to re-start with a clean slate and having to justify every line of expenditure as if it were a brand new proposition seeking approval.

    This way around makes it far harder to get spurious and superfluous items of expenditure past the elected Council, provided there are at least a few non-Lefties on the Council.

    That is exactly how my local council sets its budget every year, in fact, and it has worked well for many years now.

  2. Tattyfalarr
    January 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Just off the top of my head my Labour/Lib Dem council should not…(deep breath)…Steal 1/4 of a million in what they considered to be “left-over” benefit cash directly from the pockets of vulnerable disabled residents in care, pay off 40 grand to the whistleblower who found out, pretend to internally investigate so as to cover everything up, pay out 1/4 of a million for an independent investigation when the media found out, refund the money only on written request from each vulnerable disabled resident in care, threaten said residents with prosecution as the DWP may consider the lump-sum refund to constitute Benefit Fraud and then pay off a few of those responsible for all of this to jump ship just before the shit (finally after ten years) hits the fan.


    Quick overview link: http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/9459952.Special_meeting_of_full_council_called_over_whistle_blower_investigations/?ref=ec

    Full details easily googleable for anyone further interested in the full scale of this stinking corruption. :/

  3. Voice of Reason
    January 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I still remember those ugly and stupid (to me, a non-artist) sculptures that appeared in cities in the 1970’s. I was living near Plymouth at the time, and the one there was a rotating cone with a fluorescent light tube embedded in it.

    Needless to say, these were paid for by council taxes.

  4. January 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    More show, more theatre, from both Pickles and Polly.

    None of what Pickles is proposing can happen. full stop. It cannot happen whilst we remain inside the EU.

    I draw your attention to Article 6.1 of the 1996 Declaration on Regionalism in Europe. http://www.aer.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/PressComm/Publications/DeclarationRegionalism/DR_GB.pdf

    Article 6.1 The principle of solidarity entails the existence of national
    systems of financial equalisation.
    The aims and procedure of financial equalisation shall be prescribed in the national constitution or legislation.
    Account shall be taken of the uneven distribution of the financial burdens borne by the regions, on the basis of objective criteria. However, financial equalisation shall not dissuade those regions required to make equalisation payments from making appropriate use of the sources of tax revenue available to them.
    The needs of municipal authorities shall also be taken into account in the calculation of equalisation payments.
    Equalisation shall take the form of transfers from the state to the regions, and between regions.

    This equalization process is also repeated by the OECD, to which we are a signatory, and by the Committee of the Regions. The Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the ‘Recommendation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe on a European Charter of Regional Self-Government’, which in turn had adopted the Declaration of Regionalism in Europe and by which time had also adopted the Council of Europe’s draft European Charter of Regional Self-government (1996) and the European Parliament’s “Community Charter for Regionalisation” (1988)..

    What followed next was that the European Commission passed this all into European Law with its Regulation, European Parliament resolution on the role of regional and local authorities in European integration (2002/2141(INI))

    As this was passed as a Regulation, it was not required for an Act of Parliament to be raised and was therefore introduced into UK law on Tuesday 14th January 2003.

    So no, Pickles can’t change the disbursement method, and Polly’s faux outrage is just that, faux.

    Click my website link for the full article on this subject.

    • Andrew Duffin
      January 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

      “Equalisation shall take the form of transfers from the state to the regions, and between regions.”

      Very interesting, isn’t it?

      I’ve no doubt at all that Alex Salmond, being a canny operator, is well aware of this.

      So all those English people who are hoping that once Scotland breaks away, they’ll no longer have to subsidise it, are in for an unpleasant surprise, are they not?

  5. John
    January 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I refuse to leave comments on the troll Toynbee’s shill articles anymore.

    Frankly you would put fifty Hubble telescopes into space and you still wouldn’t be able to see the planet she apparently lives on.

    • Mary
      January 13, 2012 at 5:34 am


  6. ivan
    January 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    The more I read about the waste of money by local councils in the UK the more I think something like the structure we have here in France should be imported and used.

    Village business is carried out in the village shop or the street, depending on where you catch the mayor. The village employs 2 full time and 1 part time workers. We have a daily garbage collection, Monday to Friday holidays included, that is phased over the village so that everyone gets a collection from their door at least twice a week.

    The last time the council ‘thought’ about something that most people knew would be a waste of money the whole village descended on the village hall to express their views in no uncertain terms – the idea was dropped like a very hot potato.

    I can remember in the dim and distant past that, at least in the part of the country I was born in, had something like that – councils covering smaller areas and the local people knew and worked with the councillors but those days are long gone I’m afraid.

  7. Jack Savage
    January 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    They could make a very small start by not sending me full colour magazines telling me how wonderful they are.

    • Tattyfalarr
      January 12, 2012 at 12:24 am

      I shred ’em for cat litter 🙂

      • nemesis
        January 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

        I sent it back to the Council – in the interests of ‘recycling’ of course, but with a few choice words written on the cover.

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