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Good point is madeby the magnificent Conservative councillor in Ealing, Phil Taylor, on his blog, about the transparency requirements of the coalition policy statement which I detailed yesterday.

Phil says:

I am not very pleased though to see central government getting away with a £25,000 threshold whereas local government has to work with a £500 threshold. I would suggest that £1,000 all round would be more sensible. I know that lots of people think that local government is a bit Mickey Mouse and amateurish. As someone who has tried to sell to both central and local government I can tell you that local government is a lot more penny-pinching and street-wise than central government. This discipline is much more sorely needed in central government and the government has let itself of lightly. It smells prime minister. You really should sort this.

Quite right. Is the suggestion that councils should have a lower threshold as they are smaller spenders? if so why? Anyway where is the logic that a Quango with a half billion budget has a £25,000 threshold and a council with a half billion budget has a £500 threshold?

Boris is a hero in this area as in so much else. Here is a list of all payments over £1,000 by the GLA to outside firms for last month – the total comes to £1,926,611.15. Crucially there is an "Expense Description" by each item. Far more important is that City Hall also produces a detailed, intelligible breakdown of its own spending by cost code. This is only the central bit of GLA spending and amounts to £137.4 million. I suggested cuts of £92.8 million which would have allowed a 10% cut in the Mayor's Council Tax precept.

Rather than for the rules to come in and hope there are lax requirements, such as a £25,000 threshold, individual cabinet ministers should start telling their Departments: "Look this is what Boris has done I want us to do the same. Straight away. If he can do it why can't we? We have our budgets and cost codes. We know what we paid out to which suppliers last month. Get on with it."

David Cameron could set an example with 10 Downing Street. But so should all his Ministers. Come on Theresa. Come on William. Come on Liam. Come on Eric. Come on Owen. Come on Michael. Come on Jeremy. Come on Phil. Come on Iain, Andrew L, Andrew M, Cheryl and George. Come on Vince, Danny, Chris and Nick for that matter. We are all in this together. Action this day.

20 comments for: Why is the transparency threshold £500 for Councils but £25,000 for central Government?

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