Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Localism and Efficiency

John O'Connell of the TaxPayers Alliance (TPA) has a post linking to the statement by Cllr Harry Phibbs of Hammersmith & Fulham Council who yesterday highlighted, on Conservative Home, 105 town hall regulations that he suggests should be scrapped. In his post John O'Connell also links to an excellent article by Mike Denham, Research Fellow at the TPA, which in turn raises some other points.

In his paper Mike Denham writes that much of the 70 percent of government spending goes on providing local services with that money being funnelled down through a complex web of quangos and government agencies. He also calls for local authorities to have tax-raising powers and acknowledges that this is something called for in "The Plan", authored by Carswell and Hannan and which could be done by a local sales tax. There are those, for example Mark Wadsworth, who believe that a local land value tax would be fairer, however that is a discussion for another day.

What stands out though from the calls for the reorganisation of local authorites and giving them tax-raising powers is the accountability to their local electorate that this would bring to local councillors and must therefore make them take a greater interest in local matters. To enable this to happen though it must also mean that the present system of 'Cabinet government' presently employed by local authorities must be scrapped.

Reverting to the call by Cllr Harry Phibbs for removing unnecessary regulations is that were this to happen, coupled with local authorities being given tax-raising powers, it would also facilitate the culling of the quangos and government agencies to which Mike Denham referred - thus also providing an added bonus!

Of course, for all this to happen we do firstly need to leave the European Union and then, with the introductions suggested we would really become a self-governing nation.

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