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LIB DEMS CALL FOR COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL GOVT REFORM BILL

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Liberal Democrat local government spokesman David Rendel today called on the government to bring forward a substant...
Liberal Democrat local government spokesman David Rendel today called on the government to bring forward a substantial local government Reform Bill and not to simply tinker with local government.

The government are expected to make an announcement on limited local government reforms in the next few days, in the form of a white paper.

Mr Rendel emphasised the Liberal Democrat commitment to a more substantial bill in their alternative Queen's speech.

The Liberal Democrat bill would include:

abolishing the capping of local authority budgets, replacing the council tax with a local income tax, deregulating competitive tendering, giving local authorities a new legal standing through a power of general competence and the establishment of a layer of community, parish and town councils, with decision-making devolved to the lowest appropriate level.

Mr Rendel said:

'Local government suffers from having poor accountability to the public. It is heavily over-regulated and vastly under-resourced.

'It is time to give power back to local people and their communities, and to give councils the means to respond to the differing needs of their local people.

'Local government must also be properly funded. This does not just mean central government allocating more money. It means abolishing the unfair council tax and replacing it with a fairer local income tax. And it means abolishing the uniform business rate, replacing it with site value rating, with local authorities setting the level of rates themselves.'

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