Battle cry for the future of public services

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Wealthy local businessmen could be given the opportunity to invest in South Holland and reap rewards from its growth in a radical ‘rewiring’ of the way public money is distributed to vital services.

An ambitious campaign has been launched nationally which it is hoped will deliver a fairer deal for residents, boost economic growth and “completely rewire” the public sector.

Rewiring Public Services is the response by local authorities to how councils can deliver public services within ever-tightening budgets.

In South Holland, a 35 per cent reduction in government grants in 2017-18 means the “efficiencies” required to balance the budget will be £2.8m.

The objective of the campaign is to take localism further and lobby for a radical transformation of the way local government works and its relationship with Whitehall.

Coun Gary Porter, a Local Government Association Conservative group leader, gave a presentation to councillors last week outlining challenges they face and actions needed to secure growth.

The leader of South Holland District Council had been involved in gathering information for the campaign and said it was now up to councillors to take it on board. He said: “We need to start talking about it now because we are already struggling to deliver services and it’s only going to get worse.”

Among the ten key propositions are to give people a meaningful vote on local tax and spending issues, form a local treasury, bring local services and decisions together in one place, share money fairly across the UK, replace the Barnett formula that gives Scotland more per head of UK funds than it does to England and boost investment in infrastructure by creating a thriving market in municipal bonds.

Coun Porter said: “There are a lot of wealthy businessmen in South Holland who could invest in the district. It’s madness they can’t.”