12/03/2006

LGA Commission on Council grants a good idea

The BBC reports that the LGA are asking the government to set up an independent commission to allocate cental government grants, taking this potential political weapon out of the hands of politicians. Read the story HERE.

To my mind, it is completely wrong that central government grants are in the hands of politicians to the extent that a council does not know what it is going to get until it receives it's letter from Minister Phil Woolas. I cannot comment on Mr Woollas' honesty, but in his parliamentary seat, his main opposition are the Lib Dems. If he was feeling particularly bitter, he could, if he wanted, give out lower grants to Lib Dem council's just out of spite under the current system. I am not suggesting he has done this, but, a minister in his situation coudl, if he wanted. This can't be right ?

The flow of funds form the South to the North of England under Labour could easily be described as political. An independent commission could mean that nobody could accuse the government, and future governments, of this again.

1 comment:

cassilis said...

Alternatively we could strengthen local democracy and tax raising powers and hence diminish their reliance on central government largesse in the first place.

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