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Brighton and Hove councillors call for city taxes to stay here
Senior councillors have called for a bigger slice of taxation collected in Brighton and Hove to remain in the city.
Council leader Jason Kitcat and his Conservative counterpart Geoffrey Theobald have both called for the authority to be allowed to keep a larger proportion of property taxes currently sent to Westminster.
The move could raise an extra £100 million which would be spent to fund transport improvements, business structures and allow the city to become self-sustaining.
Councillor Theobald went even further to suggest the council should be allowed to keep all of the vehicle excise duty paid by Brighton and Hove motorists which could add an extra £20 million a year to the town hall coffers.
The local leaders have added their voice to a growing number of city leaders who want more financial autonomy.
Leaders of England's eight largest city economies outside London called on the Chancellor George Osborne to devolve property taxes in his budget effectively more than doubling local authority shares of national tax revenue from 5% to 12%.
Mayor Boris Johnson has also called for similar powers for London.
The level of taxes controlled at regional level is ten times greater in Canada and seven times as much in Sweden according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development research.
Coun Theobald said: “The UK, and particularly England, has one of the most centralised systems of taxation in the world and there is good evidence from other cities such as New York, Berlin and Tokyo that devolving more of this to the local level stimulates economic growth.
“The one caveat I place on this is that I wouldn't want it to be used by profligate councils as an excuse to penalise successful businesses and individuals through higher rates of taxation.”
Coun Kitcat added as a leading member of the Key Cities group of 23 English mid-sized cities he was lobbying the Government strongly on the issue and believed that the Core Cities proposals should not be limited to just the eight biggest cities.
He added: “English councils are the least powerful in the UK and victim to the whim of Europe's most centralised system of government.
“Time and again we have shown that mid-size cities like Brighton and Hove are able to respond more quickly, adding more new jobs and new companies than bigger cities.”
Labour leader Warren Morgan said: “These are interesting proposals being suggested by the Core Cities Group - we would need to look at the detail of the plans to see if they would also offer benefits to a city the size of Brighton and Hove.”
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