The future for local services
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23 posts in this topic

Given that we're edging closer to the end of local service provision (at least in terms of funding) as we know it - I'd be interested to know how we move forward in terms of providing the services we all need.

I'm not interested in dredging up the debates about public sector pensions or the public v private debate, or even CEO salaries - as they've provoked some bitter and angry exchanges in the past (and I've been involved in some of them!).

Do we set a local income tax rate for example?

Thoughts are welcome - as I've said I'd be genuinely interested to know.

 

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For me Myra, there is only one way forward for local services and that is communitarianism where funding is provided from a mix of allocation from National Government (based on simple formula incapable of interference by political parties), local precepts (council tax determined by local democracy) Grants, Partnerships, sponsorships and local philanthropy but spent on the basis of local based decision making.

Any system of funding which is at risk from binary politics, global economics, the stock exchange casino and multi-national companies/billionaires/Press barons will never work and only ever be funded by the poorer people in society and also adversely affect the poorer in society.

Jeremy is getting close to the idea with his municipal socialism but, as usual, needs to show SOME BLOODY LEADERSHIP!

As Robert Tressell observed, poverty is defined by those who cannot afford "the necessaries" of life - food, shelter, water, healthcare etc. The collapse of the local Government delivery model under austerity and stupid selling off (privatisation) of Public assets means that there are an awful lot of people who would be shocked to find themselves classed as "in poverty".

And, in answer to critics of the communitarian model, "Inefficiency is the price of democracy", as Karl Marx had it, is much more preferable to my mind than private sector care models that rip profits out of personal tragedy, the compulsory selling off of social housing for profit and privatised council services delivering less for more.

The simple idea that Preston had of keeping the spend in the borough has been a remarkable example of how national politics and globalisation rips the value out of local communities by looking what happens when you keep the money local and working for local people.

Local Government represents the wishes, hopes, desires and values of the local community - anything that restores that imperative needs to be supported.

 

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Local income tax is exactly what the tories want.

Leafy Surrey or Hertfordshire have property prices that only the wealthy can afford, attract only the wealthy and housing benefit, social housing provision, unemployment benefits and income support per capita will be much lower per capita hence much much much lower tax bills.

The wealthy also tend to have better health, use private education, suffer less crime and require less public transport provision so yet more areas where local taxation will be higher in poorer areas than more affluent areas.

This tory government is intent on reducing the national bill by passing more and more on to local councils who simply cannot afford to fulfill the services whilst their funding is being cut as their responsibilities increased. 

Manchester City Council for example has the second highest proportion of band A & B properties in the country, how can they raise funds on a par with Kensington & Chelsea? 

This will become a vicious circle, there is an insignificant difference between Greater Manchester council taxes at the moment, it is simply not worth moving for a couple of hundred pounds difference in council tax but pushing more taxes onto a local level could seriously affect this. I live less than 200 yards from Bury, 3/4 mile from Salford and just over a mile from Rochdale*, under the tory's plan all could have radically different taxation rates, and where would people earning a good wage choose to live? They'd move to the low tax councils, further increasing the poverty levels in the poorer boroughs who need to raise taxes to cover the services of their impoverished residents.

We need an infrastructure and taxation policy that looks after the many not the few, and May & Co have no interest in that!

* Triangulation suggests you may be able to work out where I live - no popping round for a brew without a prior appointment though 😀

Edited by ronky

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A couple of great responses (IMO!). 

In theory, municipal socialism would at least offer communities the opportunity to shape their lives for the better, restore local pride and ultimately lead to a better future for the UK.

As an aside, I've been reading (and listening to) several responses re. the imminent collapse of Northampton CC and the perilous state of finances elsewhere in local government.  There isn't much hope for the future if people still do not understand just how much failure to deliver statutory local services (and others) will upon their own lives, even if they aren't (or don't believe) direct recipients of specific services.  The most visible example I can think of at present being our crumbling roads and corresponding increase in repairs to our vehicles over the last few years.....worklife being disrupted because the car's off the road....more income being spent on repairs etc  There are many other examples but hopefully you get the gist!

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1 hour ago, myrabury said:

A couple of great responses (IMO!). 

In theory, municipal socialism would at least offer communities the opportunity to shape their lives for the better, restore local pride and ultimately lead to a better future for the UK.

As an aside, I've been reading (and listening to) several responses re. the imminent collapse of Northampton CC and the perilous state of finances elsewhere in local government.  There isn't much hope for the future if people still do not understand just how much failure to deliver statutory local services (and others) will impact upon their own lives, even if they aren't (or don't believe they are) direct recipients of specific services.  The most visible example I can think of at present being our crumbling roads and corresponding increase in repairs to our vehicles over the last few years.....worklife being disrupted because the car's off the road....more income being spent on repairs etc  There are many other examples but hopefully you get the gist!

 

Edited by myrabury

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On a personal aside, just had a meeting with my/mum's social worker and it looks like I could be in for more state-funded care including, possibly, free respite cover. That's great news for me and mum, but more strain on public finances - however look at how much I am saving the NHS by looking after her almost single-handed. The more help I get, the longer I can care thus saving cash in the long-term.
If we could fund more family carers properly than give them the paltry £63/week I feel more would take the task on and save the NHS money in the long-term. Those with jobs would need a guarantee that after caring (if they don't retire) they can be employed again.

As for today, I wand a specific double-VAT tax on "luxury" items which the extra would be ringfenced for social care and the NHS, example - a double-tax on tellys over 45" (a totally luxury item if ever there was one) and other stuff (cameras over £250 etc etc) where there are cheaper alternatives. Bling. Designer clothes. 

Trouble is, double VAT would probably be against EU rules...but seeing as....

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30 minutes ago, Kacc said:

On a personal aside, just had a meeting with my/mum's social worker and it looks like I could be in for more state-funded care including, possibly, free respite cover. That's great news for me and mum, but more strain on public finances - however look at how much I am saving the NHS by looking after her almost single-handed. The more help I get, the longer I can care thus saving cash in the long-term.
If we could fund more family carers properly than give them the paltry £63/week I feel more would take the task on and save the NHS money in the long-term. Those with jobs would need a guarantee that after caring (if they don't retire) they can be employed again.

As for today, I wand a specific double-VAT tax on "luxury" items which the extra would be ringfenced for social care and the NHS, example - a double-tax on tellys over 45" (a totally luxury item if ever there was one) and other stuff (cameras over £250 etc etc) where there are cheaper alternatives. Bling. Designer clothes. 

Trouble is, double VAT would probably be against EU rules...but seeing as....

It's an excellent example of long term thinking/planning, and hopefully you will receive more support than you currently get.  We need more of this.

I see where you're going re. VAT.  The trouble (for me) is that some politicians will see this as a cure-all and others would eventually extend it on items such as mobile phones, already subject to VAT but absolutely necessary for many people nowadays.  If/when we leave the EU; doubling VAT is a real possibility.

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21 minutes ago, myrabury said:

It's an excellent example of long term thinking/planning, and hopefully you will receive more support than you currently get.  We need more of this.

I see where you're going re. VAT.  The trouble (for me) is that some politicians will see this as a cure-all and others would eventually extend it on items such as mobile phones, already subject to VAT but absolutely necessary for many people nowadays.  If/when we leave the EU; doubling VAT is a real possibility.

To me double-VAT is a way of taxing the rich without scaring them away - as a 50%+ income tax band might. Could also, as a sweetener, reduce the normal VAT for ordinary goods if the extended tax brings in more. Also like to see less tax on alcohol bought in pubs, but more tax on that bought in large supermarkets, and hopefully the net advantage would be more tax revenue and locals flourishing. 

It would have to be a cross-party thing though, and the benefits sold to the voters. Think the current VAT rate's 20% - would people accept a reduction to 17.5% but an increase up to 35% for luxuries? 

Edited by Kacc

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12 minutes ago, Kacc said:

To me double-VAT is a way of taxing the rich without scaring them away - as a 50%+ income tax band might. Could also, as a sweetener, reduce the normal VAT for ordinary goods if the extended tax brings in more. Also like to see less tax on alcohol bought in pubs, but more tax on that bought in large supermarkets, and hopefully the net advantage would be more tax revenue and locals flourishing. 

It would have to be a cross-party thing though, and the benefits sold to the voters. Think the current VAT rate's 20% - would people accept a reduction to 17.5% but an increase up to 35% for luxuries? 

It use to be 15% .

 

 

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8 hours ago, stonekeeper said:

It use to be 15% .

 

 

Don't think it will ever go back to that!

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My point really was that Taxation has already been switched from a proportion of what you earn to a proportion of what you spend.

 

Which shifts the percentage of taxation as regards to wealth from the Wealthy to the lower earners. In that most of lower earners money is now taxed.

 

There is now a leaning towards charging more in Council tax which again will affect lower earners more.

 

For me the biggest shift was Taxing poorer people at 9% more should they get a decent job after going to University.

 

Instead of all who earn a big wage being taxed at over 50% this is now reserved for those who came from poorer backgrounds.

 

Shifting more public funding generation to Council tax will result in more affluent areas having better Services at the expense of others.

 

 

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7 hours ago, DR_PAUL said:

It was 8% from 1974 to 1979.

 

I remember buying a Morris 1100 from the car auctions for £ 30 + 8 % vat - £ 32.40. Those were the days ! Approx 1977.

Edited by preston exile

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17 hours ago, preston exile said:

I remember buying a Morris 1100 from the car auctions for £ 30 + 8 % vat - £ 32.40. Those were the days ! Approx 1977.

Ex Police Panda? 

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59 minutes ago, alanlondon said:

Ex Police Panda? 

 No but that car was stolen from Bradford T/C when I was working and found abandoned in Burnley a couple of weeks after I got it !

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On ‎08‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 23:56, ronky said:

Local income tax is exactly what the tories want.

Leafy Surrey or Hertfordshire have property prices that only the wealthy can afford, attract only the wealthy and housing benefit, social housing provision, unemployment benefits and income support per capita will be much lower per capita hence much much much lower tax bills.

The wealthy also tend to have better health, use private education, suffer less crime and require less public transport provision so yet more areas where local taxation will be higher in poorer areas than more affluent areas.

This tory government is intent on reducing the national bill by passing more and more on to local councils who simply cannot afford to fulfill the services whilst their funding is being cut as their responsibilities increased. 

Manchester City Council for example has the second highest proportion of band A & B properties in the country, how can they raise funds on a par with Kensington & Chelsea? 

This will become a vicious circle, there is an insignificant difference between Greater Manchester council taxes at the moment, it is simply not worth moving for a couple of hundred pounds difference in council tax but pushing more taxes onto a local level could seriously affect this. I live less than 200 yards from Bury, 3/4 mile from Salford and just over a mile from Rochdale*, under the tory's plan all could have radically different taxation rates, and where would people earning a good wage choose to live? They'd move to the low tax councils, further increasing the poverty levels in the poorer boroughs who need to raise taxes to cover the services of their impoverished residents.

We need an infrastructure and taxation policy that looks after the many not the few, and May & Co have no interest in that!

* Triangulation suggests you may be able to work out where I live - no popping round for a brew without a prior appointment though 😀

Bowker Vale/Crumpsall?

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On 8 February 2018 at 18:16, myrabury said:

Given that we're edging closer to the end of local service provision (at least in terms of funding) as we know it - I'd be interested to know how we move forward in terms of providing the services we all need.

I'm not interested in dredging up the debates about public sector pensions or the public v private debate, or even CEO salaries - as they've provoked some bitter and angry exchanges in the past (and I've been involved in some of them!).

Do we set a local income tax rate for example?

Thoughts are welcome - as I've said I'd be genuinely interested to know.

 

What are you most concerned about? 

Pehaps I'm ignorant to the issue (not intentionally I should add!!) but I haven't seen/heard many people complaining about local changes. Bins are still emptied, parks are still maintained, libraries and health centres are open. My only frustration would be the state of the roads, government has provided local authorities with extra funding to repair roads, but not much work ever seems be done. Just my opinion..

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33 minutes ago, Shaker Ryan said:

What are you most concerned about? 

Pehaps I'm ignorant to the issue (not intentionally I should add!!) but I haven't seen/heard many people complaining about local changes. Bins are still emptied, parks are still maintained, libraries and health centres are open. My only frustration would be the state of the roads, government has provided local authorities with extra funding to repair roads, but not much work ever seems be done. Just my opinion..

You are not alone.

That is the reason why they have been able to reduce the Services.

Unfortunately it is only when you need them that, you and the Majority who are voting for all this austerity BS, will discover they have gone.

 

This may help

https://councildecisions.bury.gov.uk/documents/s12472/Budget Consultation Pack.pdf

Edited by stonekeeper
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1 hour ago, Shaker Ryan said:

What are you most concerned about? 

Pehaps I'm ignorant to the issue (not intentionally I should add!!) but I haven't seen/heard many people complaining about local changes. Bins are still emptied, parks are still maintained, libraries and health centres are open. My only frustration would be the state of the roads, government has provided local authorities with extra funding to repair roads, but not much work ever seems be done. Just my opinion..

SK's response is pretty succinct.  It would also be useful for you to follow the link to the budget consultation pact.  It isn't a political document, it simply points out the facts, and they're pretty shocking.

I work in the Adult Social Care sector and when I state that the sector at breaking point thanks to lack of funding and resources, I'm not exaggerating - that's just one example.

Bury Council now operates just four libraries on a PT basis.   Eleven libraries have been closed within Bury Metro this year (used by local community groups, mums and toddlers, reading groups, local history groups, 'knit and natter' for those who are otherwise isolated and/or elderly; quiet places for kids to do homework and research; jobseekers without a PC at home to look for employment - and so on). Take a closer look at those maintained parks and you'll see plenty of neglect, unmaintained paths and fences and the removal of children's play equipment. 

The government's funding for road repairs has lagged so far behind in terms of what is actually required that our local roads are crumbling away.  'More funding' does not equate with 'necessary funding'. Closer to home, the give way markings in my local area no longer exist, leading to an increase in accidents and near misses over the last couple of years.  Not much work appears to get done because there is neither the funding nor staff to do them.  If you don't believe removal of these services have any detrimental effect on society at a local or national level then you certainly will, sooner or later.  It will affect your home, your livelihood and your quality of life.

There are plenty of people who don't see an issue until they experience a family crisis such as care for a vulnerable relative, nowhere to visit locally to socialise, study or exercise, or an unrepaired road, or an occasional missed bin becoming a regular occurence.  Not to mention calling the Police if your home is broken into, or you need to visit hospital as a matter of urgency.  GMP no longer have the resources to deal with break ins and are struggling to deal with the rise in cyber crime.  I was informed by a Nurse this morning that if one of the people I support had an issue with a PEG feeder and removed it, I would stand little chance of getting that person seen to within the couple of hours needed before the stoma closed - at present, given that the 'winter crisis' is not yet over..  These seem like isolated incidents but all services are interdependent.

Back to the OP. To be blunt; it looks likely that the collapse of public service provision may finally wake people out of their torpor.  IMO we're a couple of years away from this, and we need to be prepared.

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No disrespect to anyone.

 

But:

 

If anyone thinks you can reduce a local authorities budget by £97,000,000, but as long as the Bins are emptied, everythng will be fine they need to give their Heads a wobble.

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Here is a simple test for over the next few weeks

 

image.png.c85f65e0e2fda0b9d88b157472b79c44.png

 

When you see one of these take a picture and state location :~)

It cannot be responding to a blocked gully it must be going down the rd/st systematically cleaning them all.

In 2009 one would come down your street once a year whether called or not.

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