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Council Tax Rise Higher Than Inflation Again.

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1 hour ago, Anna B said:

There is government expenditure, and then there's government expenditure.

Surely the taxpayer has some right to know their hard paid for taxes are spent wisely on things that add to the common good, rather than vanity projects and personal ego trips.

You should already know that it does not work that way, the taxpayer pays and the government spends regardless of what the public think and our vote gives them that mandate. Even in our socialist Labour Council our money was spent jetting some members of SCC over to China at a great expense in a vanity project to attempt to promote Sheffield, and yet we basically got nothing in return except promises. Do you think that was spent wisely or was that just an ego trip for them?

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3 hours ago, apelike said:

Personally I think local authorities need to be restructured to be politically neutral and just look after the local services that are needed to run efficiently. CT also needs reforming as it is basically not fit for purpose given today's way of life and costs. Governments have known this for a while but have been reluctant to do anything about it as they know what happened when the Community Charge was introduced. It's another reason why CT is still based on property values from 1991.

We have directly funded Academies and local authority schools. Who does it better and why do local authorities run schools if they do not fund them. Who is accountable?

The council repair the roads, but they are not responsible for the main roads. I live in an area where we also have a parish council, the city councillors take the credit for what they do.

We are getting another layer, the combined authority with a Mayor. When really what some people believe is that councils should go back to before the  local government act in 1974

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3 hours ago, apelike said:

 

But back to Council Tax...

 

Personally I think local authorities need to be restructured to be politically neutral and just look after the local services that are needed to run efficiently. 

There will always be decisions about how to arrange, run and fund local services and those decisions will always be political. Even if you have a group of what we would consider independent councillors they will have to work together in order to do anything and that will require all sorts of side deals, mutual backscratching and quid quo pros - i.e. politics. Though more the poltics of compromise and pragmatism rather than the stand and shout at each other which modern politics has been for the last few years. 

 

If you want "councils" just to be project managers then you are arguing for the removal of anything that we would remotely identify as local democracy and for central government control of basically every aspect of our interaction with the state. Not entirely sure that will make anything noticibly better. 

 

You are probably also going to have to privatise every council service and again I'm not sure that injecting the profit motive into child social services is really going to make the lot vulnerable children any better, 

 

 

3 hours ago, apelike said:

CT also needs reforming as it is basically not fit for purpose given today's way of life and costs. Governments have known this for a while but have been reluctant to do anything about it as they know what happened when the Community Charge was introduced. It's another reason why CT is still based on property values from 1991.

CT and business rates certianly need reforming. However, if you revalue properties against the 1991 bands then every property will be in band H. If the bands are adjusted to be more reflective of the spread of property values (I have no idea how the 1991 bands were set) and then place properties in those bands based on their current prices then I'd imagine most properties wouldn't move at all. 

 

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7 minutes ago, andyofborg said:

......If you want "councils" just to be project managers then you are arguing for the removal of anything that we would remotely identify as local democracy and for central government control of basically every aspect of our interaction with the state. Not entirely sure that will make anything noticibly better.

But what does local democracy achieve or is it just a name? Local council of whatever colour have to abide by the rules that are set by central government and yet most do the same job but under a different banner. Some do do it better than others but that's about it. 

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6 minutes ago, apelike said:

But what does local democracy achieve or is it just a name? Local council of whatever colour have to abide by the rules that are set by central government and yet most do the same job but under a different banner. Some do do it better than others but that's about it. 

That's a slightly different problem and has an easy solution. 

 

Over the last 40 years there has been an increasing centralisation of power in westminster. To fix it requires decentralisation and return of powers which should be in local hands back to local authorities. 

 

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1 minute ago, andyofborg said:

That's a slightly different problem and has an easy solution. 

 

Over the last 40 years there has been an increasing centralisation of power in westminster. To fix it requires decentralisation and return of powers which should be in local hands back to local authorities. 

 

Would that then not mean that we would have a two tier system of government. I'm all for LA's to spend money on what they see as local necessities but does it need a political layer as well? It surely should just be about the benefit of the people in that area.

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Just now, apelike said:

Would that then not mean that we would have a two tier system of government. I'm all for LA's to spend money on what they see as local necessities but does it need a political layer as well? It surely should just be about the benefit of the people in that area.

but how do they decide which of two (or more) competing ideas are the greatest benefit? 

especially if the ideas only actually benefit a subset of the local population. 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, andyofborg said:

but how do they decide which of two (or more) competing ideas are the greatest benefit? 

especially if the ideas only actually benefit a subset of the local population. 

By having people in charge just as it is now to make the decisions. If something is worth doing then it should not be dependent on politics is what I am saying as that is why we vote in a GE. All that is happening at the moment is councils are changing political colours but nothing much else changes except the fist pumping by those that win. In Sheffield we have had several changes over the years but has one really been better or performed better than another as all of them have to abide by the rules set out by central government.

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1 minute ago, apelike said:

By having people in charge just as it is now to make the decisions. If something is worth doing then it should not be dependent on politics is what I am saying as that is why we vote in a GE. All that is happening at the moment is councils are changing political colours but nothing much else changes except the fist pumping by those that win. In Sheffield we have had several changes over the years but has one really been better or performed better than another as all of them have to abide by the rules set out by central government.

so your answer to the current situation is basically to end local democracy and that central govenment should have absolute rule over our lives. 

 

my point is that the current situation is a result of a 40 year power grab by central government and to resolve that requires a massive decentralisation of power back to localities 

 

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28 minutes ago, andyofborg said:

so your answer to the current situation is basically to end local democracy and that central govenment should have absolute rule over our lives. 

 

my point is that the current situation is a result of a 40 year power grab by central government and to resolve that requires a massive decentralisation of power back to localities 

 

Can’t see that happening anytime soon.
 

Johnson’s government is a centralising force, mirroring other modern-day kakocracies with kleptocratic tendencies (variously: Brazil, Turkey, Hungary, US until recently...).

 

The SNP likely won’t be getting Westminster permission for IndyRef 2.0, any more than powers repatriated to Westminster (faster since 2010 under Austerity 1.0) will get (re-)decentralised, before 2024.


Heh, it’s a bit hard to “take back control” if you give it away 🙃

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3 hours ago, andyofborg said:

so your answer to the current situation is basically to end local democracy and that central govenment should have absolute rule over our lives. 

No it's just that it is not necessary to have a political bias for that to work as we already have democracy. Local democracy just sounds good but has never had much effect on the local area and is just basically a name as all the rules are still set by Westminster. We seem to have a pretense that local democracy changes things locally but that is far from how it works in reality. In Sheffield's case the democracy we get is mainly, you voted for us and we do what we want according to the party line, without taking much notice of the local mood.

 

3 hours ago, andyofborg said:

my point is that the current situation is a result of a 40 year power grab by central government and to resolve that requires a massive decentralisation of power back to localities 

To be honest I would say the the current system is just as bad as it was more than 40 years ago, still archaic and outdated. It's not really a power grab either as local authorities have never had much power to wield in the first place. But, having said that....

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/24/commissioners-to-help-run-dysfunctional-liverpool-council

 

A power grab for a reason.

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6 hours ago, apelike said:

No it's just that it is not necessary to have a political bias for that to work as we already have democracy. Local democracy just sounds good but has never had much effect on the local area and is just basically a name as all the rules are still set by Westminster. We seem to have a pretense that local democracy changes things locally but that is far from how it works in reality. In Sheffield's case the democracy we get is mainly, you voted for us and we do what we want according to the party line, without taking much notice of the local mood.

Local democracy used to work. but increasing centralisation in westminster has destroyed that. 

Decentralisation would mean that some of the rules wouldn't be set in Westminster any more and those that were would have some flexibility to allow local governement to make decisions in line with local conditions. 

 

The phrase I've underlined is equally applicable to the westminster government. More so in fact. 

 

 

6 hours ago, apelike said:

To be honest I would say the the current system is just as bad as it was more than 40 years ago, still archaic and outdated. It's not really a power grab either as local authorities have never had much power to wield in the first place. But, having said that....

I don't dispute that it's archaic and outdated and the decentralisation should be part of a wider constitutional renewal leading to a more federal relationship between the nations and greater regional and local control over appropriate things. 

 

6 hours ago, apelike said:

Probably the right reason. As much as we would like to think otherwise there will always be people who take undue advantage of their position in one form or another. Hopefully the various investigations will find the truth in the allegations and the courts will properly deal with any miscreants. 

 

The way to stop that isn't to remove local government that would only centralise the corruption in central government (PPE, track & trace etc.etc.etc.) but strong local government with proper checks and balances. 

 

Much of our current problems are of our making. By disengaging from politics the wider population have allowed people who in other times would never get a look in to get in, at both the local and national level. 

 

If you really want things to change then people need to re-engage at a personal level with politics. 

 

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