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ACADEMIC PROPOSES NEW LOCAL TAXES

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Major reforms in local authorities' money raising powers are called for in a report published today, reports the Yo...
Major reforms in local authorities' money raising powers are called for in a report published today, reports the Yorkshire Post (p10).

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.

- There should be a higher proportion of locally determined revenue to reduce dependence on government grants New taxes such as fuels or sales tax, licences on passing lorries, or tourist taxes for example.

- 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.

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