Michael Burton is editorial director of The MJ
Cut the benefit bill by investing in social housing
It is rare for ministers to plan beyond the lifetime of a parliament. There are exceptions: automatic pension enrolment introduced from 2012 by the then Liberal Democrat minister Steve Webb is one example of a politician taking a long-term view about a difficult issue.
Will 100% business rates deliver benefits?
Fresh analysis questions whether 100% business rates retention would actually benefit councils. Michael Burton reports.
EXCLUSIVE: Sir Vince backs more council borrowing powers
Ahead of his first Liberal Democrat conference as party leader, Sir Vince Cable tells Michael Burton why local government should play a key role in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
Give councils the full fiscal tools to do the job
Relying on business rates alone to replace RSG will require a heck of a lot of redistribution to compensate poorer areas, writes Michael Burton.
IFS study casts doubt over backing for 100% business rate retention
Senior councillors and directors have expressed scepticism that 100% business rates retention will bring benefits, according to analysis from the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
Tax receipts flatter July’s budget figures
There was good news for July’s public finance figures but the long-term picture remains delicate, reports Michael Burton.
All councils should sign up to peer review challenges
Following the results of a survey by The MJ, Michael Burton argues peer reviews are critical to performance monitoring.
Lamenting the loss of local news
Sam Clayden looks at last week’s London Assembly report on the decline of local media, and below Michael Burton speaks with Bob Kerslake about the effect it is having on scrutiny and local democracy.
Lord Kerslake urges far greater council scrutiny
Former Civil Service head Lord Kerslake has called on local authorities to step up their scrutiny processes to compensate for the decline of local media.
Birmingham’s leader on the horns of a dilemma
The dispute over Birmingham's bin strike has pushed John Clancy into an alley with one union cutting off one escape route and another union blocking the other. Michael Burton says the leader is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
The Industrial Strategy is cancelled out by Brexit
Michael Burton looks at the findings of a recent Centre for Cities report and calls on business ministers to speak up about the impacts of Brexit on their own Government's Industrial Strategy.
Declining pay is an issue for both staff and chiefs
It seems like another era when communities secretary Eric Pickles lambasted council chief executives for earning ‘more than the prime minister.’
Should we be Keynesian about spending to offset Brexit?
If austerity as a name is history, if only for political reasons, then its successor, scarcity, is little better, writes Michael Burton.
Delegates upbeat despite central-local deep freeze
Michael Burton casts a personal view on the major highlights of last week’s LGA conference
Bridging the gap between health and care
Underlying tensions between health and care remain. Some cross-fertilisation of skills and understanding must be a priority for leaders in both sectors, writes Michael Burton.
LGA focus: How it all began – tracing the LGA’s journey
A quarter of a century ago leaders of the three main authority associations decided that into one body would create a more effective voice for the sector. Michael Burton talks to two of its founders, Lord Geoffrey Filkin and Sir Rodney Brooke.
Authorities must renew focus on scrutiny and risk assessment
The challenge for local authorities is to ensure they can continue to be enterprising, outward-facing, process-light organisations without ever losing that important focus on strong governance and risk awareness, says Michael Burton.
Business rate as an income base requires more thought
local government needs to be realistic about the feasibility of relying on business rate for its funding into the future, argues Michael Burton.
Borrowing lowest since recession
Borrowing continues to reduce and is at its lowest since just before the recession, but total debt continues to rise, according to latest public finance figures.
We need a public inquiry into our national politicians
Occasionally a crisis will happen that exposes our trust in the competence of politicians to be entirely optimistic, writes Michael Burton.