- 2004 Local Government Service Group Conference
- 9 June 2004
Conference notes that reviews of Local Government Finance are taking place throughout the United Kingdom. Local Authorities need reliable income, solid financial structures and increased revenue in order to be able to deal with the new burdens placed on them by Central Government and are increasingly unable to maintain funding of core services.
The present Council Tax System needs to be reviewed, particularly as there is often a disproportionate effect upon poorer sections of society. Central Government Grants are often ring-fenced or tied to national targets, which do not take into consideration local factors.
Conference believes that a comprehensive review of local government finance needs to take place, considering the strengths and weaknesses of the following areas:
·A review of the present council tax system including the property bands
··The autonomy of local authorities to raise revenue or determine how national income tax is used.
··Other forms of local income taxation, based on the ability to pay should be examined to supplement Central Government funding
··The return of the business rate to local authority control
··Abolition of ministerial capping powers
··Local Government Borrowing to be removed from Public Sector Borrowing Requirement
··The distribution of revenue grants
··Alternatives of Capital funding to PPP/PFI
··A tax on land and property where planning permission has been granted
··A national service tax set centrally and based on income
··The consolidation of staff currently involved in the raising of local government finance and enhancing the numbers of staff currently involved in promoting the uptake of rebates and benefits
Conference calls for this issue to be debated by the Service Group Executive in conjunction with the Policy Development and Campaigns Committee and for recommendations to be circulated debated and pursued by the National Executive Committee.