Tag Archives: local

Four ways Labour could fix the crisis in local council finances – but will it?

Council funding: council tax bills are only a minor element in the funding of local authorities – most of the cash comes from central government’s Aggregate External Finance (AEF) grant. It is the composition of this grant that determines whether councils can cope – or will go bankrupt.

LabourList used to be a handy source of information about the UK’s largest political party – but that was a long time ago, before the infighting over Jeremy Corbyn, and Keir Starmer’s purge of the Left.

Still, it does produce the occasional item of interest, like a recent piece about ways a Labour government might solve the Tory-caused crisis in local council funding.

Six English councils have announced effective bankruptcy since 2020, and there is said to be a £4 billion funding gap across the board.

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“£4 billion? That’s nothing,” I hear you say. “Tories give sums like that to their buddies in return for hot air.” True. But LabourList has suggested four possible ways of improving council funding.

The big question is: which will Keir Starmer rubber-stamp? Or will he ignore the problem, like the Tory he is?

Here are the possibilities:

Proposal 1: Rework the local government needs assessment [the Fair Funding Review].

The government launched a ‘fair funding review’ in 2016, but this has not progressed since a consultation in 2018. Not having this in place in England makes it a significant outlier in the international community, gradually untethering the distribution of local government finance from local need and resource.

The Fair Funding Review should be reopened and delivered, paving the way for yearly needs assessments and longer-term funding settlements.

Proposal 2: Establish a systematic form of territorial equalisation between local authorities.

England is an outlier in not having a systematic form of territorial equalisation, that ensures solidarity and parity in needs-based revenue between location.

Germany, Italy, and Japan all utilise forms of vertical (central to local) and horizontal (between location) redistributions of major income streams (including elements of personal, company, consumption, and asset taxes) that ensure that all locations have access to sufficient resources and the ability to deliver minimum service standards.

Importantly, the funding provided through the equalisation systems in Germany, Japan and Italy is not ringfenced. This results in individual local authorities having significant discretion over the income they receive.

Proposal 3: Establish a standing commission, akin to the ‘English Devolution Council’ proposed by the Institute for Government.

Discussions between councils and the government about local financial pressures, distribution of funds, or the impact of national policies are haphazard and often adversarial. To strengthen this relationship, we propose a one-stop, statutory body to provide discussion forum for local authority representatives and the government.

Proposal 4: Develop a long-term programme exploring assigning national tax revenues to local authorities.

A fixed percentage of the revenue from one or more national taxes could be assigned to local government as a whole. Taxes that could be considered in this regard include income tax, VAT, employers’ NI, corporation tax, vehicle excise duty, and stamp duty.

The revenue could then be distributed according to the needs assessment developed in Proposal 1. This would counter the problem faced by many proposals for fiscal devolution: that richer areas raise more money, increasing inequality.

All of these ideas are based on the situation in Germany, Italy and Japan, which suggests that, perhaps, only minimal research has been done.

Still, a little is better than none at all.

But no amount of research can do any good if a government is not interested in implementing it.

And Keir Starmer is haemorrhaging votes because of his blind loyalty to Israel in that country’s brutal slaughter of innocent citizens of Gaza.

Which of the four ideas above will he implement? Well, he may not have the chance to consider any of them.

Source: Four ways Labour could fix the crisis in local council finances – LabourList


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More than 40 Tory MPs demand extra funding for the councils they’ve been starving

Rubbish: will domestic refuse collections be cut back – again – if Rishi Sunak and his government refuse a plea from more than 40 Tory MPs for the restoration of funding to local councils?

Tory MPs who gleefully nodded through cuts totalling three-eighths of local council funding are now demanding extra cash so the same councils can fend off bankruptcy. Is it because this is an election year and they are afraid they’ll lose their Parliamentary seats?

More than 40 of them have joined dozens of others in demanding extra funding to avoid big cuts in council services.

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Here’s the BBC:

The group of 46 MPs, which is made up of 44 Conservatives as well as Labour’s Daniel Zeichner and Liberal Democrat Sarah Dyke, includes former ministers Priti Patel, Robert Jenrick, Greg Clark and Damian Green.

The letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove was co-ordinated by the County Councils Network and the County All-Party Parliamentary Group.

It urged the government to provide extra funding for local authorities ahead of a vote in the Commons next month “to ensure that the councils in our areas can continue to provide the services that our residents depend upon”.

There has been growing concern across the local government sector about council funding, with particular pressure on the cost of providing care for vulnerable adults and children, as well as housing services.

The government said it had announced a £64bn funding package for councils.

In December, the government announced the amount of funding it plans to make available to councils from April, and said it represented an average increase of 6.5% compared to the year before.

It is interesting that the Tory government said it was providing £64 billion in funding, when apparently the amount of cash it made available for councils fell from £41bn to just £26bn between 2010 and 2020.

Perhaps some of the extra cash is so-called ‘Levelling-Up’ money?

If so, Labour’s Luton North MP Sarah Owen has something to say about the way that money has been allocated:

Most of the response to the Tories’ call for cash has been ridicule – and for obvious reasons. They knew they were taking money away from local councils when they voted for austerity cuts to their funding, so they knew that services would be cut.

These responses therefore seem entirely appropriate:

Rishi Sunak is facing the possibility of another rebellion when Parliament is asked to approve a new funding deal for local councils in the near future.

It seems that these Tories have presented their government with a lose-lose situation: either set themselves up to lose the funding vote in Parliament, or set themselves up to lose the election when the amount of funding approved by Parliament turns out not to be enough.

Perhaps this is a good moment to remind you that the people of the UK can have all the public services they want. The only thing missing is the political will to provide it.

The UK is the fifth-richest economy in the world, meaning there is plenty of money available. Most of it is held by a small number of extremely rich millionaires and billionaires, many of whom would not object to paying a little more tax if it frees up money for public services.

But the Tory government – including some of the MPs now demanding more funding – is determined to cut taxes for the richest people, rather than increasing them.

This is a problem that the Tories created for us, with a plan to blame councils in the face of any backlash. Now it is backfiring onto them. Serves them right.


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Did you know councils will have to pay for asylum seekers after the Tory government ends hotel contracts?

These will be happy: the racists of Britain First must be celebrating Suella Braverman’s decision to accede to their demands and stop housing asylum-seekers at hotels. But with the number of people coming here dropping by only 20 per cent, is it a premature celebration? Will these hotels keep the migrants, but with councils forced to pay the bill?

Read this:

The UK government intends to terminate contracts with 50 hotels currently housing asylum seekers by the end of January, a move that threatens to offload the £8m daily cost onto already strained local councils. This decision emerges as part of the government’s broader efforts to tackle illegal migration and reduce the cost associated with processing and housing asylum seekers.

Critics argue it will merely shift the burden onto local councils, already grappling with financial strain and housing shortages. The Local Government Association (LGA), the national voice of local government in the UK, has warned that councils may have to house these asylum seekers in the very hotels the government is vacating. They call for additional funding and consultation in these decisions, underscoring the need for local authorities to be adequately equipped to accommodate these individuals.

The impression This Writer had, from watching our rubbish mainstream media news reports, was that the number of people getting across the Channel in boats had fallen by an amount significant enough that these hotels weren’t needed any more.

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Here’s a government tweet on the subject:

See what I mean?

There’s nothing about asylum-seekers being housed in the same hotels, but with local authorities forced to pay for it with the money they should be spending on public services.

It seems Suella Braverman is forcing your council to take the blame for her failure to handle the refugee issue.

Source: UK Government to End Hotel Contracts for Asylum Seekers, Leaving Local Councils to Shoulder the Burden


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Councils are going bankrupt after the Tory government cut their funding

Council tax bill: but the levy on residents of council areas won’t save some authorities, because it is a massive cut in CENTRAL government grant that is bankrupting them.

There’s not a lot to add to this because the fault is self-evidently with the Conservative government in Westminster.

Oh – this is different from the situation in Birmingham that was brought about by a coalition Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration imposing a sexist bonus scheme, for which the now-Labour-run council is going bankrupt while trying to pay compensation.

The fault still lies with the Tories, either way.


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Starmer’s Labour is allying with extreme right-wing parties. What does that tell you?

Blue Labour: otherwise known as the ‘other’ Conservative Party.

This is unforgiveable:

I refer, of course, to the decision by members of Keir Starmer’s Labour Party to go into coalition with the Conservatives. That is not acceptable under any circumstances and the people of the Wirral should demand another election.

Worse still, Labour has also suspended the Wirral West constituency party without explanation:

Sadly, the Wirral isn’t the only place this is happening:

Reform UK is even more right-wing than the Conservative Party!

And here’s a council where Labour has deliberately sabotaged an opportunity to keep the Tories out:

That was a decision by the party’s National Executive Committee; Keir Starmer’s cronies would rather have councils run by Tories than their own party. What does that tell you?

It’s clear what this kind of behaviour has told the executive committee of Copeland CLP:

It seems Starmer and his right-wing goons are chasing out the remaining party members who remember what Labour should be, in order to replace them with far-right Tory clones.

Or should that be clowns?


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Tory ‘voter ID’ law stopped nearly 10,000 people voting in local elections

Vote: nearly 10,000 people (of whom we’re aware) were denied their democratic right because they didn’t have the right identification to take part in the local elections. But the joke is on the Tories because they’re the ones who missed out.

Nearly 10,000 people were prevented from voting in the local government elections earlier this month – not because they were trying to commit fraud but simply because they did not have the right kind of identification documents.

It was a consequence of the Tory government’s attempt to gerrymander democracy (according to former Tory minister Jacob Rees-Mogg) by ensuring that only certain forms of ID would be allowed at polling stations.

The claim was that the measure was introduced to prevent voter fraud – which has always been practically non-existent in in-person voting in the UK. Postal votes are much more vulnerable to manipulation – as we discovered when the Tories tried to get people to send postal voting forms to their own constituency associations.

Hilariously, the plan backfired because the Conservatives lost more than 1,000 council seats; the voters turned their back on the party in a huge rejection of the government and its local lackeys.

Here‘s the BBC’s story:

Information from 160 of 230 councils where polls were held this year shows 26,165 voters were initially denied ballot papers at polling stations.

Of these, 16,588 people came back with valid ID, whilst 9,577 did not return… Campaigners warn this would not capture all those affected.

Amazingly, the Tory lickspittles at the BBC had to include a line that the number of people who didn’t get to vote was “a relatively small number of voters”.

Not only does this fail to take into account votes lost from no fewer than 70 other councils, but there were reports of people being turned away before they were able to get inside polling stations, meaning their inability to vote did not, legally, have to be recorded.

So… what happens now?

Logically, the government should review the effect of its own legislation on its ability to win elections, and this should persuade it to alter or even repeal the “voter ID” law.

But the UK does not have a logical government.

The intention was to deny democracy to a large volume of the electorate, and in that sense it has succeeded.

I think the Tories will allow this insult to democracy to continue out of spite. They’ll probably say it needs to “bed in”.


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NI elections: with Sinn Fein ascendant, what next for the DUP?

The results of the Northern Ireland local elections are in – and Sinn Fein has made clear gains.

After that party’s victory in the Stormont assembly elections last year, it gained 39 council seats to make itself the largest party in local government as well.

And turnout was up, from 52.7 per cent to 54.7 per cent. That suggests that people deliberately turned out to help Sinn Fein gain more seats.

What does this mean for the Democratic Unionist Party, the next-largest in both Stormont and the councils?

I’d say that, as Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neil has said, it means the public want the DUP to resume its power-sharing arrangement in Stormont – or they’ll punish that party again.


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Chris Williamson explains how Labour betrayed him and cannot be trusted

Chris Williamson.

On the same day This Site published an article that in part detailed how former Labour MP Chris Williamson was smeared and vilified, the personal views of the gentleman concerned have been aired elsewhere.

You can read my piece here. In it, I discussed how Mr Williamson had been accused of anti-Semitism after he rightly stated that Labour had been “too apologetic” in response to accusations of the same against other party members; his point was that evidence should have been evaluated before any concessions were made.

Mr Williamson’s own perspectives are well worth recording. He stated that the accusations against him were “trumped up charges at the behest of the Zionist lobby and a ragtag and bobtail bunch of revolting right-wingers”.

He went on to say that left-wingers in the party failed to support him, and this “timidity” in turn led to “Labour’s catastrophic election defeat in 2019, followed by Jeremy [Corbyn]’s suspension in 2020, and Diane Abbott’s earlier this year.”

And he stated:

The left now has even less influence over the Labour Party today than it did under Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.  Truth be told, the left has no influence whatsoever anymore and there is no prospect that it ever will.

The mechanisms that enabled Jeremy to be elected leader, or allowed me to become a Labour MP have been obliterated.

Not only will a leftwinger never be allowed to stand as the Labour leader in the future, no leftwinger will ever be allowed to even become a Labour parliamentary candidate.

But although the Labour left has been comprehensively crushed, Labour’s deplorable right-wingers, who now have complete control of the party, are still resorting to desperate lies and smears against the left.

But these smears are doing right-wing Labour little good, stated Mr Williamson, who seems to support the expelled former party members who won victories against Labour in May’s local elections:

There were some startling reversals for the party, where former Labour Party members, who had been kicked out by Sir Keir Starmer’s regime, stood as independent candidates.  One such case was in Winsford, which is a district of the West Cheshire and Chester local authority, where Labour was all but wiped out by a new grouping called Salt of the Earth. The Labour Party’s dirty tricks failed to hoodwink local voters there.

So all the betrayals have weighed against Labour, rather than earning it voters.

It serves Keir Starmer right.

Source: I gave nearly 44 years of my life to a party that has now completely lost the plot – Dorset Eye


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As predicted: thousands of disabled people couldn’t vote at the local elections

Read:


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Did Therese Coffey single-handedly lose the local elections for the Tories?

Raving it up: Therese Coffey likes to have a good time, and it isn’t hard to picture her dancing while the rivers overflow with condoms and tampons – or even while her government falls.

We all knew the wholesale pollution of our rivers and waterways with raw sewage, by privatised water companies, was one of the big issues of the local elections.

That’s why some of us see Feargal Sharkey as a hero of the anti-Tory effort:

But of course, he would not have had to lift a finger if the privatised water firms weren’t pumping sewage into our beloved, once-beautiful eco-system.

And who’s letting them do that? Therese Coffey, the Environment Secretary.

Still.

Perhaps it’s too early for the Tories to have got to grips with the reasons they lost 1,058 seats on local councils, because of the Coronation weekend.

But that doesn’t mean we should let Coffey off the hook. The damage being done every day is appalling.

For example:

“Onward to the general election,” says Mr Sharkey.

Yes. And the Tories probably won’t even have got the message by then!


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