I can’t remember what brought this up; it may have been considering local government cuts. It was certainly raised in my mind during the Indy Ref., but financial autonomy for local government is not good enough. This is true at a UK borough level and also at an international level within the EU. Poorer places need more social expenditure and have a lower tax base (or lower addressable charitable income), if the social wage and decent care is to be offered and some of these things should be seen as a right, we need to practice an old truth,

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

It can be applied to communities as well as people. In the context of the EU, when the UK joined a Regional Fund was created which may now have morphed into the R&D budget, in the UK, Central Government has always given money to local authorities and these payments have always been politically biased. Some have also spoken recently of a Transfer Union, because social services and income transfers remain social goals but cannot be funded by locally fragmented economies It’s one reason why, between Scotland and the rest of the UK, there exists a quasi legal objective funding agreement.

Since these funding/subsidy agreements are not legally underwritten, they have become political tools to reinforce electoral power. It’s another reason why the UK needs an entrenched basic law. Paul Cotterill has argued that the “Localism Act” gives local authorities the ability to resist aspects of Brexit and the long term EU treaty commitment to subsidiarity is also a potential legal route to establish the rights of local authorities to define their needs and collective remedies. It’s a shame that it looks like we’re leaving because there’s little doubt that Parliamentary Sovereignty is past its sell-by date, we need a basic law to guarantee citizen’s rights against the government and the only one we have is the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.


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