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October 03, 2006


Denis Cooper

You really have to have local taxes to pay for local services, as far as possible, because otherwise local electors can't get a clear idea who should get the credit or the blame for how they're run and how much they cost. In some of the poorer areas with very low local revenues they would still have to be topped up by grants from central government, but the default position should be that local authorities are entirely financed by local revenues.


We long ago learned the error of taxation without representation. Now we are also learning there is no real representation without taxation. It seems to me that if localism is to be accountable and legitimate (and therefore effective), then they need local taxes to be it.

Perhaps the idea that you choose where a proportion of your taxes go might be looked at; you get to indicate how 25% of your local taxes are spent - libraries or parks. Or perhaps that's a little too much....

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