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Councils would take over many powers from both quangos and unelected regional bodies under plans in the Liberal Dem...
Councils would take over many powers from both quangos and unelected regional bodies under plans in the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

It stressed a wish to 'free local councils from many of the stifling controls of central government', with the Audit Commission as local government's sole inspectorate.

The party has dropped its decades-old enthusiasm for English regional government and proposed that Whitehall powers should go direct to councils, and that county councils would recover strategic planning powers from regions.

Abolition of council tax is a flagship policy for the Liberal Democrats, who would replace this with local income tax, which the party called 'fair and affordable'. Typical households would save£450 a year from a tax based on ability to pay, the party claimed amid graphic warnings of 'huge and arbitrary rises' from the 2007 revaluation.

The party proposed no structural changes to local government, but emphasised local services should be run by 'locally elected people, who earn your trust when they get it right or are thrown out if they get it wrong'.

Specific Liberal Democrat policies for councils include a long-term goal of zero municipal waste. The manifesto does not indicate how long this would take, but said 60% of household waste should be recycled within seven years.

Councils' local development plans would have to include targets for carbon dioxide emission reductions.

The party opposes major road building and would switch resources to public transport.

Election online

>> Compare the parties' stances on local government issues and all the breaking election news on the elections 2005 minisite.

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