13 December 2010

The Localism Act - A Crooks Charter

The curious activities of the current administration at County Hall continue to amaze but now we have to deal with the erstwhile Mr Pickles' latest ouvre - the Localism Bill. Its all part of Dave's 'Big Yurt' idea where we all gather in Dave's tent and he hands us a humungous bill for all the services that we thought that we had already paid for through the taxes we pay, including our Council Taxl.

And now we have the Localism Bill. At first I thought it was a bale-out for our ailing public houses until someotold me that it was the next big idea to push responsibility for providing services down onto the community at local level. The idea is that this gives us ('we the people' I presume) to spend money on services that we want or need. This is another way of saying, "You decide what you want, you pay for it and you take the blame when it goes down the dumper".

So, last week I met with David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Resources at Somerset County Council. David seems to me to be a pretty laid back guy, pleasant and very conversational. (I described him  to a friend as being rather like a lightly sedated Jeremy Clarkson.) Anyway, David gave me a quick run through of the problems facing County and, whilst I came away none-the-wiser about County's 'business plan' (yet to be announced), he did explain the wacky 'Crank the Precept' idea being pushed onto the 350 Town and Parish Councils in Somerset. Here's how it works: