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user23
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 12 2017, 06:32 PM) *
Yes, I'd agree with all that. Its like throwing herrings to seals, keeps them happy for awhile. It the government really believed in 'localism', they'd keep right out of local government financing, which won't happen anytime soon.
By letting councils keep their Business Rates they are exerting less control over local government financing, as you suggest should happen.
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 12 2017, 07:30 PM) *
By letting councils keep their Business Rates they are exerting less control over local government financing, as you suggest should happen.


Oh yes, but of course! So once it happens for ALL the Councils nationwide all our troubles will be over. We can reverse the cuts, solve the bed blocking by hospitalised OAPs, fully staff the libraries, open the lavatories and enjoy a hog roast from the pigs shot down as they fly over the Kennet.

Bring it on!


(I wonder if the 'expertise' we've had to let go can be tempted back?)
Simon Kirby
QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Feb 12 2017, 06:56 PM) *
It's like feeding strawberries to donkeys! angry.gif

I rather like donkeys.
Turin Machine
QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Feb 12 2017, 09:12 PM) *
I rather like donkeys.

Lucky you ,enough of them in the council.
Simon Kirby
QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Feb 12 2017, 10:14 PM) *
Lucky you ,enough of them in the council.

laugh.gif
blackdog
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 12 2017, 03:49 PM) *
I don't think they're going to be reassigned from a specific Government department to Surrey, no, but I see what you mean, Government won't be able to spend the money they give to Surrey.

It's really a drop in the ocean in terms of something like the defence budget though.


23billion is well under the defence budget, but it's more like a drop in a cup than a drop in an ocean.
blackdog
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 12 2017, 08:06 PM) *
Oh yes, but of course! So once it happens for ALL the Councils nationwide all our troubles will be over. We can reverse the cuts, solve the bed blocking by hospitalised OAPs, fully staff the libraries, open the lavatories and enjoy a hog roast from the pigs shot down as they fly over the Kennet.


Districts like West Berks will indeed be rolling in it - other councils will still be dependent on the whims of central government grants. The post code lottery will be in full swing - there's every chance that West Berks could become a retirement hotspot owing to the cash available to spend on elderly care.
On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 13 2017, 02:50 PM) *
Districts like West Berks will indeed be rolling in it - other councils will still be dependent on the whims of central government grants. The post code lottery will be in full swing - there's every chance that West Berks could become a retirement hotspot owing to the cash available to spend on elderly care.


Quite; essentially to pay for insured social services! No issue with that and in some ways it makes local 'government' even more superfluous and pointless. West Berks being a retirement hotspot / final commute dormitory suburb should come as no surprise - that's what the WBC vision is all about.

Some chap on Radio this morning was making a very strong case for centralised waste management. Won't be too long now before someone notices that the 'central establishment' against what is really done by WBC is wholly out of balance. What next, volunteer CEO? Serious point, with all the affluent retirees we are expecting.
blackdog
Had a rootle on google.

It seems that the 23 billion raised by the business rates would more than pay for adult social care (18.2 billion at its peak).

West Berks collects about 83 million in business rates (2016/17) and currently keeps around 18 million. They also get government grants totalling around 17 million. Assuming they lose all the grants and retain all the rates they will have 48 million a year extra to spend. Not bad on a 120 million budget.

However, it still wouldn't raise the amount they spend per head of population up to the current level of poor old Surrey's spending!

On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 13 2017, 05:55 PM) *
Had a rootle on google.

It seems that the 23 billion raised by the business rates would more than pay for adult social care (18.2 billion at its peak).

West Berks collects about 83 million in business rates (2016/17) and currently keeps around 18 million. They also get government grants totalling around 17 million. Assuming they lose all the grants and retain all the rates they will have 48 million a year extra to spend. Not bad on a 120 million budget.

However, it still wouldn't raise the amount they spend per head of population up to the current level of poor old Surrey's spending!


Fine. So, there is at least 48 million in the Government's safe just waiting to be spent? Being of simple mind, that must surely mean someone has been telling lies about this need for austerity or someone is going to be very unhappy about losing their grants and other government bounty. I wonder which it is?

NB - a consortium of big retaillers is presently heavily lobbying HMG to try and stop the transfer of business rates, fearful that local councils will increase the charges so reducing the attraction of High Streets still further. As if!
blackdog
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 14 2017, 11:10 AM) *
Fine. So, there is at least 48 million in the Government's safe just waiting to be spent? Being of simple mind, that must surely mean someone has been telling lies about this need for austerity or someone is going to be very unhappy about losing their grants and other government bounty. I wonder which it is?

NB - a consortium of big retaillers is presently heavily lobbying HMG to try and stop the transfer of business rates, fearful that local councils will increase the charges so reducing the attraction of High Streets still further. As if!


Not at all, it is currently being spent - what it means (or seems to mean) is that the Governement is going to have to find more savings or borrow more to make up for the loss of this revenue. The whole scheme is bizarre, it just happens that WBC look set to benefit from it.

In some places councils will be tempted to raise business rates to make up for past or future cuts in grant funding - I can't see that being necessary here (not while the Tories have control) - they could increase their budget by 25% and cut both council tax and business rates by 10%.

Not that austerity is really on the agenda any more - it is being swept under the Brexit carpet.
On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 14 2017, 12:06 PM) *
Not at all, it is currently being spent - what it means (or seems to mean) is that the Governement is going to have to find more savings or borrow more to make up for the loss of this revenue. The whole scheme is bizarre, it just happens that WBC look set to benefit from it.

In some places councils will be tempted to raise business rates to make up for past or future cuts in grant funding - I can't see that being necessary here (not while the Tories have control) - they could increase their budget by 25% and cut both council tax and business rates by 10%.

Not that austerity is really on the agenda any more - it is being swept under the Brexit carpet.


Yes, another manifestation of microwave politics, ....and we throw in a free toaster.

Good analysis Blackdog, but if you can see it, so can the Treasury wonks. Do you honestly believe they'll let the likes of WBC or Newbury Two Flagpoles Town get their little mitts on anymore than the loose change. I'd hazard not even enough to pay for a p*** in the Wharf Toilets.
user23
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 14 2017, 11:10 AM) *
Fine. So, there is at least 48 million in the Government's safe just waiting to be spent? Being of simple mind, that must surely mean someone has been telling lies about this need for austerity or someone is going to be very unhappy about losing their grants and other government bounty. I wonder which it is?

NB - a consortium of big retaillers is presently heavily lobbying HMG to try and stop the transfer of business rates, fearful that local councils will increase the charges so reducing the attraction of High Streets still further. As if!
Can councils set business rates locally? I thought rates were set nationally.
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 14 2017, 05:44 PM) *
Can councils set business rates locally? I thought rates were set nationally.


Yes, they are at the moment. However, the business complainants have a fear that they won't be when the Government redirects the take. There is some logic behind their fear I suppose!
On the edge
Post truth hits Newbury

Daily Mail headline screaming about injustice to transferring business rate to Councils so that they can spend a lot more
Newbury Weekly News report says WBC are looking at making even more savage cuts.

Someone is telling porkies big time. Little wonder Joe Average has lost all faith in experts and politicians.


user23
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 16 2017, 09:39 PM) *
Post truth hits Newbury

Daily Mail headline screaming about injustice to transferring business rate to Councils so that they can spend a lot more
Newbury Weekly News report says WBC are looking at making even more savage cuts.

Someone is telling porkies big time. Little wonder Joe Average has lost all faith in experts and politicians.
I imagine they're both true.

Some businesses don't want to pay more tax which and if that happens they'll be less money for public services.
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 17 2017, 09:24 AM) *
I imagine they're both true.

Some businesses don't want to pay more tax which and if that happens they'll be less money for public services.


Yes, that's right 'for the moment' and both are true. That's exactly what post truth is all about. The biggest lie, 'austerity' trumps both. How stupid that so many of us believed this Tory / LibDem untruth - cuts aren't and never were necessary. Good housekeeping yes, austerity cuts no.

(Businesses don't want to pay massively more, they've spotted the flaw, there is NO new money here)
blackdog
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 17 2017, 09:24 AM) *
Some businesses don't want to pay more tax which and if that happens they'll be less money for public services.

I don't think that's the case - as I understand it the total take from business rates is not going up - but the rates are changing to reflect the change in value of business properties over the last 10 years. So businesses in poorer areas where values have not risen much (or fallen) will be seeing their rates cut and businesses in places like Newbury, where values have rocketed will be paying a lot more.

They are supposed to do this rebalancing every 5 years, for some reason they skipped the last one.

WBC should apply to be part of the sweetner package pilot scheme the Govt has recently invented for Surrey's benefit and try to get to keep the business rates sooner. Then cut them back to 2016 levels.
On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 17 2017, 09:41 AM) *
I don't think that's the case - as I understand it the total take from business rates is not going up - but the rates are changing to reflect the change in value of business properties over the last 10 years. So businesses in poorer areas where values have not risen much (or fallen) will be seeing their rates cut and businesses in places like Newbury, where values have rocketed will be paying a lot more.

They are supposed to do this rebalancing every 5 years, for some reason they skipped the last one.

WBC should apply to be part of the sweetner package pilot scheme the Govt has recently invented for Surrey's benefit and try to get to keep the business rates sooner. Then cut them back to 2016 levels.


Mind, with business quitting West Berkshire right now it its likely to be an own goal!
blackdog
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 17 2017, 09:44 AM) *
Mind, with business quitting West Berkshire right now it its likely to be an own goal!


Bayer's departure will cost WBC about a million a year - but IKEA's arrival will make up for it!
On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 17 2017, 04:05 PM) *
Bayer's departure will cost WBC about a million a year - but IKEA's arrival will make up for it!


Reading are already grumbling to the Boundary Commission....
user23
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 17 2017, 07:09 PM) *
Reading are already grumbling to the Boundary Commission....
About Ikea?

Seems unlikely.
blackdog
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 17 2017, 07:22 PM) *
About Ikea?

Seems unlikely.


I doubt that it is specifically about IKEA, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they want to extend Reading's boundaries to encompass all of Calcot, Tilehurst etc. - makes more than a little sense. Would be a massive hit to WBC's income, I wonder how much they spend in those areas?
user23
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 21 2017, 05:43 PM) *
I doubt that it is specifically about IKEA, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they want to extend Reading's boundaries to encompass all of Calcot, Tilehurst etc. - makes more than a little sense. Would be a massive hit to WBC's income, I wonder how much they spend in those areas?
In the 2011 census the population of Reading Borough was 155,700 and West Berkshire was 153,822.

Given there's almost parity in population, simply redrawing the Reading / West Berkshire boundary seems unlikely.
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 22 2017, 09:53 PM) *
In the 2011 census the population of Reading Borough was 155,700 and West Berkshire was 153,822.

Given there's almost parity in population, simply redrawing the Reading / West Berkshire boundary seems unlikely.


Population is but one element.
blackdog
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 22 2017, 09:53 PM) *
In the 2011 census the population of Reading Borough was 155,700 and West Berkshire was 153,822.

Given there's almost parity in population, simply redrawing the Reading / West Berkshire boundary seems unlikely.

Population matters for constituencies and wards, not for local authorities. The Reading arguments will be about the self-evident fact that Calcot is part of Reading, with little or no connection to Newbury. They've been arguing for it for years, perhaps they'll get there one day.
user23
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 22 2017, 10:41 PM) *
Population is but one element.
Reading and West Berkshire are but two.
On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 22 2017, 10:49 PM) *
Population matters for constituencies and wards, not for local authorities. The Reading arguments will be about the self-evident fact that Calcot is part of Reading, with little or no connection to Newbury. They've been arguing for it for years, perhaps they'll get there one day.


Quite so; and certainly with the austerity measures and some of the sillier outcomes, the cry comes up again. Local Government is an acknowledged disaster area nationwide right now and the only solutions the Government can offer right now seen to be temporary palliatives, as what's happening with commercial rates clearly demonstrates.
On the edge
One other old call, which would would be quite sensible to resurrect right now, would be the restoration of a properly unitary County level authority and if we must, retain tightly bounded parish level councils. Whilst that wouldn't deliver any saving in operational staffs, it should eliminate much of the now unproductive and expensive middle management. In simple terms, an administrative authority for an area the size of Berkshire only needs one Director of Education, and so on. It's screamingly obvious, but then so is the reason its not even in consideration.
blackdog
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 24 2017, 07:43 AM) *
One other old call, which would would be quite sensible to resurrect right now, would be the restoration of a properly unitary County level authority and if we must, retain tightly bounded parish level councils. Whilst that wouldn't deliver any saving in operational staffs, it should eliminate much of the now unproductive and expensive middle management. In simple terms, an administrative authority for an area the size of Berkshire only needs one Director of Education, and so on. It's screamingly obvious, but then so is the reason its not even in consideration.


There is a certain amount of this happening - I note, for instance, that West Berks building regulations are now handled by Wokingham. That said, the point about a 'Director of Education' is not as simple as you make out. We might for instance have a Director of Education and Children's Services in a smaller UA, but a Director of Education and a Director of Children's Service if we merged with a second UA. A bigger organistion does not necessarily have fewer staff to do the work.

Mind you with all the direction coming from Whitehall, I'm not convinced LAs have much of a role in education at all
Simon Kirby
QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 24 2017, 01:37 PM) *
Mind you with all the direction coming from Whitehall, I'm not convinced LAs have much of a role in education at all

Me neither. Neither am I convinced that local authorities have a role in trading standards, environmental health, social services, housing, waste collection, roads, planning, health and safety, and libraries. There is maybe a role for parish-level local government in the preparation of local plans, but the planning decisions themselves should be made exclusively by informed professionals with reference to those local plans.

The problem with local authorities is their board of management - councillors! Despite the Tory rhetoric quangos can be quite an effective way of delivering public services with national agencies working through local offices giving you local knowledge with all the benefits of economy of scale and depth of expertise, and despite the rhetoric of localism the majority of those services really require very few policy decisions, and for those that do, direct local democracy is quite possible now - we could for example be asked to vote annually on the service level for a range of services and the national agencies would then deliver those services locally to the standard agreed locally.

There'd still be a role for local political activists seeking to influence those service level choices, but it would end the nonsense of electing deciders to decide on our behalf when we're perfectly capable of deciding for ourselves.
user23
QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Feb 24 2017, 07:08 PM) *
Me neither. Neither am I convinced that local authorities have a role in trading standards, environmental health, social services, housing, waste collection, roads, planning, health and safety, and libraries. There is maybe a role for parish-level local government in the preparation of local plans, but the planning decisions themselves should be made exclusively by informed professionals with reference to those local plans.

The problem with local authorities is their board of management - councillors! Despite the Tory rhetoric quangos can be quite an effective way of delivering public services with national agencies working through local offices giving you local knowledge with all the benefits of economy of scale and depth of expertise, and despite the rhetoric of localism the majority of those services really require very few policy decisions, and for those that do, direct local democracy is quite possible now - we could for example be asked to vote annually on the service level for a range of services and the national agencies would then deliver those services locally to the standard agreed locally.

There'd still be a role for local political activists seeking to influence those service level choices, but it would end the nonsense of electing deciders to decide on our behalf when we're perfectly capable of deciding for ourselves.
The opposite is happening, with local regions being able to decide more for themselves thanks to the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016.
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 25 2017, 12:13 PM) *
The opposite is happening, with local regions being able to decide more for themselves thanks to the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016.


The secret us in the text, the words 'some' and 'combined' tend to give it away. It's really an attempt to replicate the London model in the bigger conurbations particularly in the North. WBC dead in the water, clearly even HMG see it as too small to be viable even medium term.

Anyone wanting a physical illustration of the crass silliness of the existing system simply needs to consider why in the pretend County of Berkshire, two large public parks in close proximity are managed by two separate councils operating with separate staff from separate offices. Not sure even Lewis Caroll could have dreamed that up.
user23
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 25 2017, 05:31 PM) *
The secret us in the text, the words 'some' and 'combined' tend to give it away. It's really an attempt to replicate the London model in the bigger conurbations particularly in the North. WBC dead in the water, clearly even HMG see it as too small to be viable even medium term.

Anyone wanting a physical illustration of the crass silliness of the existing system simply needs to consider why in the pretend County of Berkshire, two large public parks in close proximity are managed by two separate councils operating with separate staff from separate offices. Not sure even Lewis Caroll could have dreamed that up.
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.
Cognosco
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Mismanaged? rolleyes.gif
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Yes, that's right at the moment but for big conurbations akin to London and the Manchester area. So this doesn't solve the majority issue, the little councils like West Berkshire. Creating these regional authorities then produces a counter to the devolved regional Government in Scotland and Wales. I'm sure you'll have noticed that 'Cornwall' features in the act you copied. For this area, in good time, we might expect perhaps a Wessex region.
How would these regions deliver services; via contracted agencies.
user23
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 26 2017, 05:34 PM) *
Yes, that's right at the moment but for big conurbations akin to London and the Manchester area. So this doesn't solve the majority issue, the little councils like West Berkshire. Creating these regional authorities then produces a counter to the devolved regional Government in Scotland and Wales. I'm sure you'll have noticed that 'Cornwall' features in the act you copied. For this area, in good time, we might expect perhaps a Wessex region.
How would these regions deliver services; via contracted agencies.
You say regions would deliver services via contracted agencies, however what's actually happened in your example of Cornwall is they're in-sourcing services.

Do you have a link to plans for the proposed Wessex region? Bar a few crackpots on Twitter, I've not seen any serious proposals about it.
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 06:42 PM) *
You say regions would deliver services via contracted agencies, however what's actually happened in your example of Cornwall is they're in-sourcing services.

Do you have a link to plans for the proposed Wessex region? Bar a few crackpots on Twitter, I've not seen any serious proposals about it.


If you think about it; there are very good reasons why that is desperately needed in Cornwall - which has for rather long suffered in silence. Wessex is a good name for an region don't you think; but probably too small; plus as you say, the 'crackpots' have damaged the brand.
On the edge
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Just to make it clear, yes, I have a view that all local services should be delivered by single role agencies managed centrally. I'd be quite happy and would like to see more than one agency offering services meaning central management would could be of regional franchise.
And no, that isn't happening at the moment but the 'serious discomfort' of government with local arrangements today means that a radical solutions are being sought.
Simon Kirby
QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 26 2017, 07:58 PM) *
Just to make it clear, yes, I have a view that all local services should be delivered by single role agencies managed centrally. I'd be quite happy and would like to see more than one agency offering services meaning central management would could be of regional franchise.
And no, that isn't happening at the moment but the 'serious discomfort' of government with local arrangements today means that a radical solutions are being sought.

Local government is a mess. Take industrial accidents - some are investigated by the police, some by the Health and Safety Executive, and some by the Local Authority - all three agencies maintaining the necessary expertise and management infrastructure which could more sensibly be condensed into a single national agency. Similarly with health and welfare with the local authority, national health service, and police service all sharing confusingly overlapping responsibilities. There is a lot of scope for rationalising the provision of services between a small set of national agencies, but the opposite is happening with a variety of niff-naff like grit bins for example being devolved onto the parishes with the predictable result that some, like our own town council, are using the opportunity to expand their administrative empires.
blackdog
QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Managed locally to ever stricter guidelines set centrally. That's not what I see as localism.

It's more a ploy to shift expenditure from central to local taxation.
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