Interesting piece (£) in the Local Government Chronicle on options being looked at by the Government for increasing the ratio of money that Town Halls raise locally. There is a strong case that localism can only go so far when most of the money comes from central government. The author of the article, Allister Hayman, likes to put an anti-Pickles spin on almost everything he writes. So his suggestion of a "chasm" in thinking between Eric Pickles and Nick Clegg and the claim the two are "at loggerheads" can safely be regarded as hyperbole.
But there is certainly a debate going on about how fast and how far the changes should go – if not in the direction of travel. On this issue it seems to be the Lib Dems who are what Vince Cable would call the Maoists. While Pickles is focusing on the localisation of business rates, Clegg is pushing for a local sales tax. A roughly revenue neutral move for the Government would be to scrap central Government grants, abolish VAT and allow councils to raise money from a sales tax on the American model.