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LABOUR MEMBERS CRY FREEDOM

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Labour councillors will launch a bid to win more power and freedom for local government at their party's national p...
Labour councillors will launch a bid to win more power and freedom for local government at their party's national policy forum next week.

They will pressure the party to include proposals for a local government finance review and a pledge to return business rate to councils.

A source close to the policy forum said: 'We want to take control back to councils. Local government should not be seen as merely an agent of central policy.'

The finance pledges are among around 90 amendments by councillors to the party's environment, transport and the regions consultation document.

The policy document makes no mention of the business rate. But it does say: 'For many years local government finance has been over-complicated. Labour will review the way in which local government finance is calculated, leading to the best deal for local taxpayers and putting local finances on a sounder footing.'

The document also hints at the party's future policy direction on local government: 'Labour has brought in new structures to achieve our goals at local and regional level. It is now time to focus on standards of service delivery rather than structures.'

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