Robin Millar is the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee in Forest Heath District Council, West Suffolk. His consultancy is focused on local government and he blogs regularly for his ward and his business.
This morning Conservatives promised people the power to veto unacceptable council tax increases, through a referendum of local households. This was a deft and unexpected political move that demonstrates again which party has its finger firmly on the pulse of voter concern.
But what do these proposals say about the Conservative view of local government?
Firstly, Conservatives control more than half of the local authorities in England and Wales today. Over the last decade, people have voted consistently for Conservatives as their Party of choice to deliver cost effective local services (all facts the opposition parties will not wish to draw attention to). Therefore Conservative Councillors may well scent Westminster's mistrust in these proposals.
Secondly, and confusingly given the last point, these proposals may be criticised as out of touch. They are too complicated to communicate ("Which part of the precept am I vetoing - a county council increase of 2.5% on £500 or the parish council increase of 25% on £50?"), too costly to administrate and still too close to a "cap".