Crossovers could force up tax hike

CROSSOVER and duplications could be at the heart of why tax costs are spiralling.Duplication between the functions of county and district councils mean that taxpayers are funding services TWICE through charges levied by the two tiers of local government.

CROSSOVER and duplications could be at the heart of why tax costs are spiralling.

Duplication between the functions of county and district councils mean that taxpayers are funding services TWICE through charges levied by the two tiers of local government.

For instance, county councils run education, transport, and social services while districts – or boroughs – are responsible for housing, development control (granting planning permission for developments) and other services.

However there are crossovers between these functions.


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District councils collect rubbish – but county councils are responsible for its disposal.

District councils draw up a local plan – showing what can be built where in their area – while counties draw up a strategic structure plan giving an overall look at the county.

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This function could soon be taken away from them – structure plans could be drawn up at a regional level – but it does mean there is considerable duplication with two groups of planners looking at the same area of land.

In the early 1990s, the government did toy with the idea of getting rid of "two tier" authorities.

However their proposals didn't go down well in historic counties like Suffolk who did not want to see them disappear.

Although a few single-tier councils were created in East Anglia – Southend and Basildon in Essex and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire – Suffolk was left untouched.

If regional government is introduced within the next few years, it is inconceivable that the current two levels of local government will remain – and single-tier local government will become a fact.

nIf you have any stories for us to investigate, contact Councilwatch at the Evening Star on 01473-324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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