Monday, March 17, 2008

It is a classic 'agency-model'

Been ruminating a bit more on the parlous situation that Scottish Local Government now finds itself in ... I've mentioned this extensively over recent months, going as far back as last October - see here, here and here for a flavour of my earlier thoughts.

And, the more I think on this, the more depressing I believe the situation actually is ... Scottish Local Government is slowly being stripped of all its significant autonomy, and if the current plans for the so-called 'local' Income Tax get approved as they are, then it would compound the situation ten-fold.

One can only hope the Lib-Dems in the Scottish Parliament stand by their principles (I know, don't laugh) and refuse to support anything that does not allow local variation?

But regardless of what happens to the Council Tax, we are nevertheless just a few weeks away now, as a Local Authority, from signing up to a Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) which will effectively make us an arm of the National (Holyrood) Government:
  • we'll be agreeing to deliver national manifesto commitments
  • report on the progress towards achieving those commitments
  • and having to do so in the midst of a freeze on Council Tax which has removed the last element of our fiscal autonomy
It is a classic 'agency-model' and I just cannot believe that local politicians - who should surely be defenders of local democracy if nothing else? - are being so silent in the face of this onslaught on local accountability??

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