Any council setting its increase above a set ceiling (which will be set by central government) will trigger an automatic referendum of all registered electors in its area - at the cost of tens of thousands of pounds. The cost alone (at a time of tight budgets) will prevent most local authorities from even trying to carry out big increase.
So how is this decentralising democracy? Indeed the proposals seem to have a lot in common with the infamous proposition 13 on California 1978
The proposition lowered property taxes by rolling back property values to their 1975 value and restricted annual increases in assessed value of real property to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per year. It also prohibited reassessment of a new base year value except upon (a) change in ownership or (b) completion of in California's new construction.
In addition to lowering property taxes, the initiative also contained language requiring a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future increases in all state tax rates or amounts of revenue collected, including income tax rates. It also requires a two-thirds vote majority in local elections for local governments wishing to raise special taxes.
The result proposition is that it has hamstrung the Government of California it has led to the ruin of the States finances to the extent it is almost bankrupt but it cannot raise taxes in order to square the deficit.
Pickles proposal will only strengthen central government and weaken any local attempt to seek local solutions for local problems.
The other seemingly good Idea is actualy a good idea The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is suggesting that the 51 benefits currently available to the unemployed, as well as income-related benefits for the low-paid, will be replaced with a single benefit covering all people of working age.
I am sure that no one can argue with this and of course both Peter Black and Dib Lemming are trying to say this is part of the Lib-Dem Policy.
However the main problem is not:
- The Number of different Benefit
- That people are better of on Benefits
- That People on Benefits do not want to work
- That there are clusters of where people have developed a culture of living on benefits
- No the main problem in these areas are.
There is a Post Code discrimination against People in these area by employers.
When both members of the coalition admit to this, (and supporters like Peter Black and Dib Lemming)come up with proposals to deal with it then I will give them credit Until then I will still suspect that the both Parties (as Labour did before them) are trying to give the impression that the problem lies with those on benefit and not the government's failings.