Unfortunately the government feels that another tier of elected officials is the solution, and are suggesting that each area elects a crime and policing representative – around 400 of them nationwide. In London this job would entail chairing a meeting called the ‘Crime And Disorder Reduction Partnership’, a group made up of all the relevant public bodies in the area; the police, council, probation, youth services, and so on. Crucially, this representative wouldn’t have any specific power, they would just be the chairman of a committee. They could not, for example, change the priorities of the police unless the police themselves agreed.
The Local Government Association reckons the bill for electing these 400 powerless politicians would be between £15 and £48 million, enough to pay for 300 or 1,000 extra police!
If you live in Wandsworth you should be getting your copy of Residents’ News coming through your door soon. If you just can’t wait to read it, you can download the Shaftesbury version here: Shaftesbury Residents’ News – Winter 2008
Today Alistair Darling will announce that Labour have finally seen the benefits of low taxation.
Or has he? The BBC is currently reporting an expected temporary reduction in VAT to 15%, along with the introduction of a new higher rate tax band and the postponement of various other changes. In other words, we’re increasing taxes, not immediately, but it’s coming.
And it’s questionable who will benefit from the reduction in VAT. Any reduction in tax is not to be scoffed at, but if you take a low income household and consider where their income goes, much of it is spent on VAT exempt goods. The weekly food shop – mostly VAT free. Children’s clothes – VAT free. Fuel bills -already at a lower VAT rate.
Of course, they’ll save a few quid on their Christmas shopping, but I suspect that’s small consolation when the parents fear for their jobs as we head into recession.
Is there another way? Well, there was a good article in today’s Telegraph that points out that Conservative controlled councils are about the only places you see efficient, well-run and affordable government nowadays.