Monday, December 11, 2006


I have been trying to find out when the Lyons Enquiry will finally report on local government finance, but to no avail.

It was originally due in December and there are rumours that Gordon Brown will receive a copy next week. However, some reports suggest that he will delay any Government response until well into the New Year to avoid any fallout for the May elections.

Don't be fooled by any delay - the parlous state of public finances means that there will be little spare cash for local authorities, who are already bleating about the fact that their council tax increases are less than their projected expenditure for next year.

Given this, Lyons will have no option but to recommend that councils are given powers to raise additional funds through some form of local taxation, including the dreaded bed tax on tourists.

I am in good company - the Times believes that Sir Michael Lyons will include a bed tax as part of his proposals, despite enormous opposition from the tourism industry. And despite denials from Welsh Labour, the devil will be wearing ice skates if Wales does not follow England in giving local councils the powers go raise new taxes.

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