Dr Ian Sanderson, principal policy analyst at Leeds Metropolitan University says that local government power has gradually been emasculated by Whitehall, largely through financial centralisation.
In the report, Current Issues in Local Government Finance, Dr Sanderson argues that:
- Councils should be free to determine appropriate levels of spending according to local priorities, possibly subject to referendums.
- The business rate should be returned to local councils.
- There should be more direct charging for services such as leisure centres.
- Authorities should have greater freedom to borrow for capital spending.