A Cabinet Office paper entitled Building the Big Society includes the following passage on local government:
Transfer power from central to local government
- We will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government, including a full review of local government finance.
- We will give councils a general power of competence.
- We will abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local councils.
We await more detail but all the evidence is that the new Government is serious about decentralising power.
It is also reported that the Council Tax freeze and referendums allowing veto on Council Tax increases will go ahead.
One point I will interested to see is if the Government are serious about is requiring spending transparency – for both central and local government. Boris Johnson has shown what can be done by giving an intelligible, detailed breakdown of the £100 million core City Hall spending. If we had that level of detail for all £700 billion of Government spending the implications would be very significant indeed. I wonder if that will happen. The current promise of "a right to data" sounds a bit vague.