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Local authorities 'should control council tax and rates'

By Vivienne Russell | 11 July 2013

Whitehall should give up control of council tax and allow authorities to set their own rates, a CIPFA discussion paper has suggested.

Launched at the institute’s annual conference today, the paper, Austerity and beyond will act as a consultation document and help to inform CIPFA’s policy stance ahead of the next general election. It is seeking answers to how local government might develop over the current period and into the next one.

As well as suggesting councils take over council tax rates, the paper questions the government’s part-localisation of business rates and whether this could lead to a race to the bottom and a ‘beggar my neighbour’ approach from competing local authorities.

CIPFA chief executive Steve Freer said: ‘We need to see meaningful engagement with local public bodies and for the rhetoric of localism to fast become a reality.

‘We’ve heard over the past few days of CIPFA conference how well local public services have managed the impact of reduced funding so far. However, public sector leaders both here and in our research are expressing major concerns for the sustainability of frontline services over the next few years.’

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