Labour’s new plan for Britain – what does it mean for Cambridge?

Absolutely nothing if they don’t get elected at the next general election. In the meantime, have a read.

The main point to note is the consultation that effectively begins now.

Above – A New Britain, p146

Furthermore in the executive summary, note the point on ‘localism’

“The common desire for more local control should be reflected in a legal requirement, to require decisions to be taken as close as meaningfully and practicably possible to the people affected by them, so putting power and opportunity closer to each citizen.

There should be a constitutional requirement that the political, administrative and financial autonomy of local government should be respected by central government.

A New Britain – Exec Summary webpage

It will be interesting to see how the second paragraph is turned into legislation – one that is hard for a future government to undo.

“We’ve been here before with some of this stuff, haven’t we?”

Yes. Bedtime reading: The Lyons Review 2007.

406 pages of local government administration, finances, and structures.

The headings are as follows:

  • Executive Summary – 1
  • Part I: Background to the Inquiry – 37
  • Chapter 1 Local government: a continuing debate 39
    • Introduction 39
    • Context for the Inquiry 40
    • The history of local government 45
    • Conclusion 49
  • Chapter 2 Local government in the 21st century: what is it for? 51
    • Introduction 51
    • Theories of local government 52
    • The modern role for local government 56
    • What do we want from local government? 64
    • Conclusion 73
  • Part II: Problems and Solutions 75
  • Chapter 3 What is limiting modern local government? 77
    • Introduction 78
    • High degree of central control 78
    • Lack of flexibility 82
    • Expectations and pressures on services 90
    • Confused accountability 94
    • Public attitudes 100
    • Poor incentives in distribution of national resources 107
    • Conclusion 109
  • Chapter 4 Central government’s contribution to reform 113
    • Introduction 114
    • Improving accountability 114
    • Protecting flexibility 129
    • What this means for services 152
    • Conclusion 170
  • Chapter 5 Local government’s contribution to reform 173
    • Introduction 173
    • Place-shaping – the challenge for local government 174
    • Improving local accountability 192
    • Innovative, local solutions to public service challenges 198
    • Conclusion 207
  • Part III: Funding 209
  • Chapter 6 Funding reform: an introduction 211
    • Objectives for reform 211
    • Framing a package of reform 220
  • Chapter 7 Household taxation and local charges 221
    • Introduction 222
    • Council tax 222
    • Council tax benefit 248
    • Local income tax 260
    • Local service charges 272
  • Chapter 8 Business taxation 283
    • Introduction 283
    • Business rates 284
    • Section 106 and Planning-gain Supplement 313
    • Taxes on tourist pressures 314
  • Chapter 9 The funding system and incentives 317
    • Introduction 317
    • Incentives, equalisation and grant 318
    • Shared revenues to support local services 331
    • Conclusion 346
  • Part IV: Conclusions 347
  • Chapter 10 A developmental approach 349
    • Introduction 350
    • Changing behaviours 352
    • Legislative and policy changes 354
    • Options for future governments 356
    • Underpinning the developmental approach 357
    • Conclusion 359
    • Summary of recommendations 361
    • Terms of reference and acknowledgements 371
    • Implications for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 389
    • Glossary 391


It’s not designed to be read cover-to-cover. Such reports seldom are. Pick out the bits that you are interested in and focus on those. Also, there’s this:

You can read the East of England Plan here. It’s from 2008. And it says:

“The Cambridge sub-region comprises Cambridge and the surrounding area as far as and including the market towns of Chatteris, Ely, Haverhill, Huntingdon, Newmarket, Royston, St Neots, St Ives and Saffron Walden.”

EoEP 2008 13.6

Which is a bit different from what Greater Cambridge is – effectively Cambridge City on its 1935-era boundaries, plus 1974-era South Cambridgeshire.

It has some boxes [CSR = Cambridge Sub-Region] which say things about Cambridge up to 2021. Have a read.




…alternatively you can read the pages from 88-90 here

Re the last box on transport, I know you’re thinking: “What high quality transport systems?!?!”

Which shows you how long they’ve been arguing over it. Which furthermore (I believe) supports my point about the structures of local government being a mess given that so little has actually been constructed to deal with the demands of their employment-led growth strategy. This was the very point Cllr Sam Davies MBE (Ind – Queen Edith’s) made in this blogpost (and in many others) – i.e. that central government did not deliver the infrastructure needed, or the mechanisms for others to provide the funding and delivery of it.

Privatise the profits, socialise the losses

Instead, we have a system that does the above. The latest example is RailPen’s acquisition of the Flying Pig / Botanic Place site – read it here.

Above – my angry tweet.

Also, here’s RP’s version

Basically the original developer and their consultants put the local community and council through the mill in a draining planning process which they took all the way to appeal to the Secretary of State – and which the Central Government-appointed Planning Inspector overturned the council’s refusal. This has enabled that original developer to bank the uplift that now comes with the site with planning permission attached, and leaving the council and community with a heavy bill to pay. This is another reason why so many communities hate developers, their financiers, and the construction industry generally. The question for Labour is whether they plan to do anything to deal with such things because ultimately it’s the politicians that get it in the neck for passing the legislation that allows this to happen.

Anyway, it’s getting cold and my mind is fogged up and frazzled. Stay warm.

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