14 April 2022

Councils need radical thinking at a time of crisis

Councils need radical thinking at a time of crisis image
Image: StanislauV/Shutterstock.com.

Local authorities face another crisis as 2022 develops. After a decade of austerity and then the onslaught of COVID, now there is a deliberately created poverty crisis for local authorities to deal with right across the UK.

It can be argued that the inflation the UK is currently facing is not the responsibility of the Government. Instead, it is quite easy to show that the increases in oil, gas, domestic energy and food prices are almost entirely due to a speculative activity in commodity and financial markets. The result will be a massive increase in profits to be enjoyed by a very small part of any community. In contrast, poverty will increase for, in my estimate, at least half the UK’s households as they struggle to make ends meet.

If it is easy to point out that the inflation we are suffering is not the Government’s fault, the failure to address the issues arising from that inflation are its fault. The Government is choosing not to impose windfall taxes on those enjoying speculative gains from worldwide shortages. Simultaneously, it is refusing to increase financial support to those already in poverty, and those who will fall into it. Significantly, with inflation now expected to reach 9%, the apparently generous current settlement for local authorities has turned out to represent a major erosion in its purchasing power. Just as significantly, the Government has undermined the integrity of local taxation by using it to deliver a poorly targeted support mechanism for those in need of help with their energy bills.

What can the leaders of local government do in the face of these multiple crises that have been imposed upon it, all of which will be compounded as cuts in disposable income lead to job losses and business closures in most communities? I suggest that radical thinking is required. The moment when token gestures might do has gone and local authorities of all political persuasions now need to cooperate to tackle the crises they face.

The response has to relate to finance. I suggest that the time has come for local government to pioneer new sources of funding and demonstrate their credibility to central government at a time of national crisis.

To continue reading visit The MJ .

Skate parks are not the only fruit image

Skate parks are not the only fruit

On Go Skateboarding Day, Susannah Walker asks councils and their leisure and park departments to think differently about what facilities they provide for teenagers.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Business Change Officer

South Derbyshire District Council
£28,226 - £30,984
A fantastic opportunity to join an ambitious and transforming Council. Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Recuriter: South Derbyshire District Council

Service Director - Community Development

South Gloucestershire Council
Recuriter: South Gloucestershire Council

Team Support Worker

Leicestershire County Council
An exciting opportunity has arisen to work to assist in the coordination to support the management of a comprehensive countywide Team Support Service. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Assertive Inreach Worker

Leicestershire County Council
We now have an exciting opportunity to join our team working as an Assertive Inreach Worker. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Assistant Early Education Funding Officer

City of Bradford MDC
£22,129 - £24,920
An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Intelligence and Sufficiency Service to work within the Early Education Funding team. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.