Posted by: John | November 12, 2007

The tension between redistribution and democracy

There is a tension in Britain at the moment between Central and Local Government.

On the one hand we all want more powers for Local Government (the relationship to be turned on its head somewhat). However, there is a further tension as to where the money should be spent and how it should be raised.

In short, how does LIT square up with devolution?

I don’t think there’s an easy answer – we simply need a leader who’ll allow the party to come up with the answer.

One thing’s for sure – we cannot carry on as a country as we are now where power is so overcentralised that the rate support grant is the bare minimum under the formula and the Government (well, the Labour party in its overweening patronising largesse) dollops extra money targetted on this and that. 

The basis of our devolution arguments should be that there’s a difference between money coming from Government that is prescribed and the money that comes via the LAGBI spinoff. In my opinion, all the prescribed and spinoff money should be passed lock, stock and barrel to the Local Council.

That will require of course fair votes and Independent inspectors ensuring that a standard of local redistribution and quality is achieved. HOW that authority spent that money would be up to that authority.

This of course has ramifications for the number of MPs in Parliament – more Councillors and less MPs? 

I guess i’ve come to be on the ultra-radical wing on this – I believe that Central Government should be slimmed down to demarcated lines (Treasury administration, FO, International trade, European stuff) with all rate support grant money going directly to the local authority.


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