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Letter in the Guardian

Monday 15th May, 2017

Nicholas Falk of the URBED Trust writes in the Guardian on Wednesday 10th May, in response to a piece by Polly Toynbee and David Walker:

 

While Polly Toynbee and David Walker are right to bemoan the cuts in services (Disparage, downgrade, downsize, G2, 9 May), surely the underlying issue is how to revive the local state – and in the process restore faith in building a fairer future? This means finding better ways of funding local services, rather than depending on unpredictable government grants. Most of the countries in the OECD do this by raising significantly more funding locally, from cities that cover much larger areas.

This can be achieved quite easily by reforming our anachronistic property rating system. Those with large land ownerships need to pay more, while small businesses, for example, should pay less. As a start councils can use parking charges to shift behaviour, as Nottingham has done in funding a third of the costs of its tram extensions through its workplace parking levy. Similarly, by building many more homes on public land, councils could plough the increases in land value back into improved local services, as Croydon, for example, is starting to do. People may no longer trust the national state to build utopia, but they will support measures that make sense locally.


Dr Nicholas Falk
Executive director, Urbed Trust

 

You can see the other letters here

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