Council is best placed to drive spending plans

the pre-budget report is a stark and timely reminder of the tough economic climate we now live in, particularly for local government which is facing a triple whammy of increased demand for services, a fall in income and likely future cuts in the central f

the pre-budget report is a stark and timely reminder of the tough economic climate we now live in, particularly for local government which is facing a triple whammy of increased demand for services, a fall in income and likely future cuts in the central funding settlement.

While we welcome the principle that central government should relax its control over local authorities, making them less reliant on handouts from ministers, the flip side of this is that Town Halls should also be given greater powers over how they spend money raised locally.

Business rates, set by central government, collected by councils and then handed back to the Treasury to be redistributed across the UK, are a case in point. If central government is going to cut its funding to us, it should also cut the amount of money it sucks out from areas like ours through business rates.

We are far better placed locally to understand the needs of our residents and businesses than a Whitehall bureaucrat, and our local electorate will ensure the spending decisions made reflect their own aspirations.


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Cllr Brian Connell

Cabinet member for economic development

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Westminster City Council

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