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Liberal Democrat manifesto: local government key points

April 14, 2010

This is a quick at a glance summary on the key points in the manifesto of particular interest to local government

1. Make local government more accountable and responsive to local people by introducing fair votes for local elections in England. (NB: By ‘fair votes’ the Lib Dems mean proportional representation)

2. Reform local taxation. The Council Tax is an unfair tax. Liberal Democrats believe that it should be scrapped and replaced with a fair local tax, based on people’s ability to pay. It is necessary to pilot Local Income Tax to resolve any practical issues of implementation before it can be rolled out nationally, so we would invite councils to put themselves forward to be involved in the piloting phase in the second year of a Parliament.

3. Return business rates to councils and base them on site values, as a fi rst step towards the radical decentralisation of taxation and spending powers to local people.

4. Review local government finance completely as part of these tax changes, including reviewing the unfair Housing Revenue Account system and the mainstreaming of central grants.

5. Scrap nearly £1 billion of central government inspection regimes on local councils

6. Scrap the Government Offi ces for the Regions and regional ministers.

7. Implement the Sustainable Communities Act Amendment Bill, which gives local communities the right to propose actions in their area to improve sustainability.

8. Setting a £400 pay rise cap for all public sector workers, initially for two years, ensuring that the lowest paid are eligible for the biggest percentage rise.

9. Cutting back burdensome regulation of local authorities

10. Reforming public sector pensions to ensure that they are sustainable and affordable for the long term, with an independent review to agree a settlement that is fair for all taxpayers as well as for public servants

11. A wholesale review of value for money in the public sector

12. Support the establishment of Local Enterprise Funds and Regional Stock Exchanges. Local Enterprise Funds will help local investors put money into growing businesses in their own part of the country and support the development of new products from research to production.

13. Setting aside extra money for schools who want to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

14. Reform Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to focus solely on economic development, removing duplication with other parts of government and allowing substantial budget reductions. We will give responsibility for economic development to local authorities

15. Encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefi t from the power produced.

16. Increase the funding of the most disadvantaged pupils, around one million children. We will invest £2.5 billion in this ‘Pupil Premium’. This will allow an average primary school to cut classes to 20 and an average secondary school to introduce catch-up classes for 160 pupils

17. Axe the rigid National Curriculum

18. Local authorities will not run schools, but will have a central strategic role, including responsibility for oversight of school performance and fair admissions

19. Integrate health and social care to create a seamless service

20. Empowering local communities to improve health services through elected Local Health Boards, which will take over the role of Primary Care Trust boards in commissioning

21. help to maintain independent local sources of news and information by…. limiting publicly-subsidised competition for paid advertising from local council free-sheets.

22. Strengthen the Youth Service by making it a statutory service

23. Pay for 3,000 more police on the beat, affordable because we are cutting other spending, such as scrapping pointless ID cards.

24. Give local people a real say over their police force through the direct election of police authorities… with more power including the right to sack and appoint the Chief Constable

25. Give people a direct say in how petty criminals and those who engage in anti-social behaviour are punished by setting up Neighbourhood Justice Panels (NJPs),

26. Free councils to borrow money against their assets in order to build a new generation of council homes, and allow them to keep all the revenue from these new homes

27. Give councils greater powers to regulate bus services according to community needs

28. Abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission and return decisionmaking, including housing targets, to local people.

29. Give local authorities the power to set higher Council Tax rates for second homes and the option to require specific planning permission for new second homes

30. Scrap the intrusive ContactPoint database which is intended to hold the details of every child in England

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