Magazine article Public Finance

Flexibility Key to Local Funding, Lyons Insists

Magazine article Public Finance

Flexibility Key to Local Funding, Lyons Insists

Article excerpt

Sir Michael Lyons has insisted that he has not ruled out relocalising the business rate - but admitted that it was not the answer to the problem of local government funding.

Lyons, whose local government inquiry is due to report this year, dismissed reports that he had already made up his mind to exclude relocalisation from his recommendations.

'The simple proposition that you return the business rate [to local control] isn't a golden key,' he said. 'The business community completely agrees that we need to invest more in infrastructure but you cannot find resources for that investment solely from a business tax.'

Lyons said he would continue to consider the introduction of charges for certain services but said he was not spending his time dreaming up new taxes. 'My interest is in how we create a flourishing, prosperous country,' he said.

'If you believe that local government makes an important contribution, the single most important change you can make is... about increasing local flexibility.

'Nobody has challenged that and it continues to be at the heart of my thinking.'

Lyons was speaking ahead of a conference he hosted on September 14 on local government's contribution to economic prosperity. …

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