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?