Cllr Colin Barrow, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh and Edward Lister chart the next stage of the localism journey
Later today we will be launching Magna Carta 2, a follow-up to the first Magna Carta that we published last year.
The paper argues that almost of all of the political and administrative actions necessary to achieve an ideal society are best determined by local, and not central government.
In doing so, it calls for the Government to embrace and implement the next stage in the localism journey, one that is focused around giving local communities and their locally elected representatives far greater ability and powers to raise and spend the resources available to them.
It believes the government should set the conditions to allow as many Free Councils as possible – no longer dependent on hand outs from the Treasury.
Only through such financial devolution, the paper argues, will it be possible to tackle some of the most pressing and entrenched problems facing our communities today including dysfunctional families, worklessness and dependency upon the state.
Such problems can only be solved by addressing them locally and by making available, at this level, the tools to do so. It recognises that progress has been made over the last eighteen months in freeing local people and communities from the dead hand of the centre but that more still remains to be done.
It believes that were such an approach to be adopted it could enhance and complement the Government's existing agenda in freeing up the provision of local services and making them more responsive to their customers such as Free Schools.
The paper outlines a number of steps that could enable this including:
- Meaningful reform of business rates
- Consideration of other locally raised taxes such as local income and sales taxes and recovery of costs
- The pooling of public sector resources at the local level.
- Localised approach to skills, training and welfare.
- A new relationship with business including possible business representation on local councils
In setting out these steps the paper creates a possible blueprint for the future of cost effective and financially self-sufficient local public services, responsive to local people that provide ladders of opportunity for those that choose to take it and a solution to many of the most pressing challenges we face.
If you are in Manchester do come along, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss and debate our ideas with you.
Magna Carta 2 will be launched at 5.30pm, Manchester Central, Exchange 1