The Government has moved away from undertaking to meet the pandemic's costs
The finances of districts and other councils, already under strain before the pandemic, may deteriorate further, writes Ian Miller. - and questions about which services can be sustained are among those that will come to the fore.
We need to be ready to cope with the next shock
When the opportunity to reflect comes, Ian Miller feels the conclusion may be reached that the UK was not well prepared for COVID-19.
Councils need a breathing space
Councils’ priorities are now focused on fighting coronavirus, says Ian Miller – and this urgently requires a Government-wide approach suspending policy and legislative initiatives for at least three months.
Sharing of powers is not devolution
District councils need a broader range of fiscal devolution, starting with the taxes, fees and charges that councils already collect, says Ian Miller.
Don't seek to frustrate legitimate use of powers by the back door
Councils must have regard to the MHCLG guidance on investments, says Ian Miller. But a power to give guidance 'is not a power to limit councils' statutory powers by diktat', he adds.
Spending Round still leaves uncertainties
The proposed threshold of 2% for referenda on 'excessive' council tax increases is a retrograde step, when the principle was 3% for the current financial year, says Ian Miller.
Scrap the cap on council tax
Ian Miller issues a call to arms to give councils freedom over council tax rises to truly 'turn the page on austerity'.
Districts are still waiting for those funding assurances
The opening of the Treasury's purse since the new Prime Minister came into office may augur well for district councils and the rest of local government, says Ian Miller.
It's time for a radical rethink on exit payments
The Treasury's proposals for a cap on exit payments need a radical rethink - and ministers must also rapidly address a shopping list of more important issues for districts, says Ian Miller..
Counting the costs of the 'break-neck speed' EU elections
Returning officer Ian Miller writes in a personal capacity about the lessons Government and the House of Commons must learn after two major elections within three weeks - and he backs the recent Localis call for five-year terms for councillors.
Counting the costs of the EU Exit process
When the dust settles on the UK's departure from the European Union there will surely be a formal public inquiry into how the government has handled the process, says Ian Miller
Counting the cost of Defra's waste plans
A plethora of issues affecting districts keeps emerging from Whitehall, says Ian Miller - but making it easier for those with two homes to know which bin to use is not a sensible basis for policy development.
A wasteful proposal
A universal free garden waste collection service cannot represent an efficient use of Government resources, even if funding could be extracted from packaging producers, says Ian Miller
Let's have fiscal levers for local areas
The Government should take steps to enable local areas to fund services through various fiscal levers and such flexibilities would not cost it a penny in extra grant, says Ian Miller.
Ups and downs for districts
Ian Miller gives an overview of the latest decisions and indecisions to affect district councils.
Our economies are constrained by centuries old boundaries
Ian Miller calls for a bottom up approach to LEP boundaries in the future.
Calls for a new Audit Commission are an affront to localism
Ian Miller rejects recent calls for the reinvention of the Audit Commission.
Truth hates delay
The Government can’t keep using the 2017 General Election and work on Brexit as excuses for inaction, writes Ian Miller.
Let's hope the ministry works with us on finance
Ian Miller analyses the impacts of the finance settlement on districts.
Ian Miller: my biggest gripes at the moment
Ian Miller rounds up the biggest frustrations for district chiefs as another year draws to a close.