David Cameron proves again that sound bites are more important than substance when he announced that under the Tories, local tax payers will have the right to have a referendum on council tax increases each year. What utter twaddle.
Anyone who knows anything about local elections knows that they actually impose a great cost on the council. Imagine holding a referendum each year and how much that would cost. I'll give you a simple figure. If the cost of a referendum for a council was just £120,000, then this equates, for an average sized district council to 2.5% of their annual council tax take. So get this. David Cameron proposes that councils spend 2.5% of their budget each year in order for local residents to decide if council tax should be cut by 1%.
Essentially Cameron's plans are another tax on local people. Where is the logic in that ?
And what of council's with very mixed populations covering a wider area. take for example North Norfolk. Not all of North Norfolk is on the coast, indeed, most of the population of North Norfolk District Council lives inland. So what about North Norfolk spending money on the regeneration of Cromer and seat defences there ? What about sea defences at Happisburgh ? Can you imagine voters in an inland town like North Walsham seeing this as a priority ? The whole point is that a council takes a pragmatic view based on all the facts and evidence and makes decisions that are sometimes unpopular, but are for the greater good. David Cameron's ideas would ensure that only the populist decisions are made, not the difficult and important ones.
Cameron's ideas are an absolute joke and speak volumes about the Tories willingness to devolve power to locally elected councillors. just like the 1980's, this is another attempt to control councils by stealth. The Tories, it appears, never change, and given that the Tories control the majority of councils in the country, it does not seem David Cameron trusts his own party's councillors !