So says a headline in the Daily Mail today. Well in a few Town Halls – in Wandsworth we saw Thatcherism start in 1978 a year ahead of the rest of the country and it has continued there ever since. Suitably enough the Daily Mail cites Barnet for the return of Thatcherism. For example that Council has secured savings in the cost of wardens in shltered housing by providing more care for the elderly to stay in their own homes.
The Daily Mail article follows up this report from the Audit Commission which I'm afraid shows that most Councils response to the recession has been continue to spend more and recruit more – causing yet higher Council Tax bills for those already feeling stretched. Higher state spending and taxation can only delay a return to economic growth.
One example of the impact of the recession on local councils is a fall in their fee income from planning applicatons – a typical Council reports a dip of half a million pounds. How do Councils respond? By freezing recruitment of planning officers? Or just recouping the £0.5 million shortfall through higher Council Tax?