Councils’ plea for Labour government fund pledge

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
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Cash-strapped Labour councils have called on John McDonnell to commit to handing local authorities extra fund-raising powers on “day one” of a Labour government.

The shadow chancellor was urged to scrap referenda for council tax rises, allow higher tax levies on empty homes and give authorities the ability to look at local taxes such as land value tax and a tourism tax. The suggestions are part of a range of measures from the Local Government Association’s

Labour group aimed at reversing the “destroying effects of Tory austerity”.

Local Labour leaders are also urging party bosses to give new powers to authorities to build council homes, open new schools and create children’s centres in every community. LGA Labour group leader Coun Nick Forbes said: “If the next Labour government wants to deliver immediate and visible change for the many, not the few then the fastest and most direct route lies through local government.

“Communities across the country are demanding change to fix the housing crisis and support young people. With sufficient funding and greater freedoms local councils can generate economic growth, build new homes and strengthen communities.”

The report is backed by shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne who said: “The future of our country cannot be formulated by politicians in Westminster, but needs to be built in partnership with local leaders and local people.”