The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By by Nigel Nel­son PO­LIT­I­CAL EDITOR

MORE than 30 Labour coun­cil lead­ers want Theresa May to bring back the old rates sys­tem.

They say eight years of Con­ser­va­tive aus­ter­ity has put them in fi­nan­cial strait­jack­ets and de­stroyed ser­vices.

So they are urg­ing the PM to

A week af­ter the po­lice visit, the trust de­clared Deb­bie, of Bounds Green, North Lon­don, med­i­cally fit and dis­charged her. But within a day she had a fall and scrap coun­cil tax and re­place it with vari­able rates they can set.

Sal­ford mayor Paul Den­nett, who is lead­ing the cam­paign, said: “We’ve got our backs to the wall. We have one of the most cen­tralised sys­tems for lo­cal gov­ern­ment fund­ing in the Western world.”

Cuts to lo­cal au­thor­ity spend­ing and coun­cil tax caps mean half of all au­thor­i­ties have had to make cuts. Eleven, nine un­der Tory con­trol, are strug­gling. Northamp­ton­shire has had to ban all new spend­ing.

Twenty-four Labour coun­cil lead­ers and 11 in op­po­si­tion have put their names to an open let­ter to the PM, pub­lished to­day, de­mand­ing the change.

Coun­cils will have lost 77 per cent of their bud­gets by 2020, leav­ing a £5.8bil­lion black hole, ac­cord­ing to Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mates. The an­swer, say the Labour lead­ers, is to go back to the sys­tem in place be­fore Margaret Thatcher’s dis­as­trous Poll Tax in 1990.

Rates gave coun­cils the power to charge house­holds based on the nom­i­nal rental value of their homes. Mr Den­nett added: “The new sys­tem has never worked as well as the old and it’s time we went back to the draw­ing board to give coun­cils the au­ton­omy they once had.”

NIGHT­MARE: Deb­bie was ‘at end of tether’ in scan­dal hos­pi­tal

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