The Local Government Chronicle is pretty clear about who runs the show in Town Halls. In a survey (£) about Council Tax plans for next year they thought it best not to bother council leaders. rather than the monkey they went to the organ grinder. For each council they asked the finance director. They had responses from 146 of them. On that basis they concluded that 4% of councils would be rejecting the offer of financial help to fund a Council Tax freeze (or cut).
The survey, which was conducted on condition of anonymity, showed no clear split along party lines, with two Conservative-controlled councils among the six saying they intended to turn down the offer of the government grant.
We already know about Brighton & Hove, of course. But I don't know who the other five are. But the LGC suggest the number could end up as much higher – as a further 16% of respondents said they were undecided whether to accept the Council Tax freeze or not.
Let's see what happens. Finance Directors might well propose their own budgets with a view that the higher the revenues coming into their coffers the better. But the LGC appear to have disregarded the democratic element. There needs to be a vote of all councillors to approve a council budget. Before this happens a Conservative council, for example, would put usually put their plans for approval to their Conservative Group before expecting to whip them into voting through the budget. Is it really likely that any Conservative council leader would agree the proposal of some bureaucrat to reject the chance for central Government funding to allow a Council Tax freeze? If he did so, is it likely, that he would be able to win round his colleagues?