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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - EDUCATION BALANCING ACT

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Dan Corry and Gerry Stoker suggest that further centralisation of education funding might, ironically, tip the bala...
Dan Corry and Gerry Stoker suggest that further centralisation of education funding might, ironically, tip the balance of central and local revenue raising for councils in a more local direction (LGC, 6 August).

Genuine advocates of local democracy always envisaged financial autonomy being achieved through strengthening, rather than enfeebling, local government.

Despite their merging of 'new localism' with 'old centralism', Mr Corry and Professor Stoker may be right to detect some merits in making it more difficult for ministers to play the blame game in the media against councils, should the recent turbulence in schools funding reoccur.

But this optimism may be unfounded if the new system runs into difficulty. There is a potential blind spot in relying so heavily, without strong lines of local accountability, on the performance of head teachers. Or the centre could underfund schools and try to blame council education departments for not topping up Whitehall funding.

Dennis Reed

Chief executive, Local Government Information Unit

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