Magazine article Public Finance

Town Halls Told to Take Responsibility over Tax

Magazine article Public Finance

Town Halls Told to Take Responsibility over Tax

Article excerpt

Local government must take more responsibility for its own actions and not 'pass the buck' to Whitehall when it comes to criticisms of the council tax, CIPFA's chief executive told delegates.

Steve Freer said that councils were right to resist capping and keep up the pressure on government for a shift in the balance of funding for local services. But often they were far too ready to pass the blame for local tax increases on to central government.

'Local government is at its best when it stands up and takes responsibility for both its spending and taxation proposals. Frankly, it is at its worst when it cops out and blames central government,' he said in a panel discussion on Scotland's Independent Review of Local Government Finance.

Freer, who was a member of England's Balance of Funding Review Group, advocated reform of the council tax and the introduction of either a local business rate or a local income tax, set locally but collected nationally by the Inland Revenue. …

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