Central government is soon set to reform local government finance. The current system, where 96% of tax is raised centrally, cannot sustain an effective local political system capable of delivering public services tailored to local conditions.
This report steers a middle ground between utopian demands for an autonomous local government and the centralisation that has long characterised the policies of central government. It proposes an expansion in the freedom, flexibility and variety of options open to local authorities to fund local services, identifying a variety of small-scale measures. It also suggests a more general flexibility over charging for services while protecting the public against unfair fees and costs. For the author of the report, freedom to raise such funds would be matched by new forms of accountability to ensure the involvement of local stakeholders and the general public in the decision making process.
The arguments presented in this report are not about constitutional rights, but a local government that can have a more positive effect on the quality of life for all communities.