trust – tolerance – self-sufficiency
The growing apathy towards voting, already serious in the Westminster elections, is far worse at local levels, with turnouts for council elections regularly around the 30% – 40% i.e. about two out of every three voters indifferent or disenchanted. This, in part, at least, is due to the increasing centralization of government and the consequent lessening of both the authority and the sense of responsibility* of local councils. Coupled with the increasing arrogance and detachment of Local Councils as they follow the example set by Westminster, this has led in turn to the erosion of the local community spirit which alone can deal with local problems.
Restoring local democracy is an intractable problem, but it must be dealt with nevertheless and fundamental to this is ensuring that councils are allowed to raise the bulk of their revenue locally. At present, almost two thirds of council monies are provided and controlled by central Government out of our general tax burden. This, and the current, ludicrous and inequitable property-based rates system, is completely unacceptable.
I would be interested in your thoughts on ideas such as surcharging of local PAYE and VAT revenues.*It is a matter of some dark irony that many a city, vying for a prestigious piece of paper declaring them, for example, a ‘capital of culture’ or somesuch, will boast concert halls, art galleries, museums, sports stadia etc, but woe betide any hapless tourist who needs a public toilet after these ‘landmark’, ‘iconic’, facilities and the shops are closed. Local Authorities can be judged like restaurants – lousy toilets, lousy management.