Magazine article Public Finance

Raise Council Finance Centrally, Says Burt

Magazine article Public Finance

Raise Council Finance Centrally, Says Burt

Article excerpt

The local government balance of funding issue is 'irrelevant' and it would be best if all the money were raised centrally and distributed to councils, Sir Peter Burt has told leading revenue officials.

Burt - who chaired the Scottish committee of inquiry into local government finance, which reported in November 2006 - was speaking at the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation Scottish conference at Crieff last week.

He told his audience: 'The question of balance of funding is a complete irrelevancy. It has no merit and it's not something that the average council taxpayer cares about in any shape or form.'

Burt pointed out that the two councils in Scotland that probably had the greatest electoral input were Orkney and the Western Isles, despite the fact that nearly all of their money came from central government - 90% in the case of the Western Isles.

He added: 'Balance of funding is something that is dear to politicians' hearts but it does not bother the man in the street at all. The problem goes back as far as Layfield [the local government commission which reported in 1976] and it has not been resolved yet. …

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