Headlines: December 4th, 2007

A move away from the current grant system is one of a number of proposals being put forward by the New Local Government Network to help local communities to integrate new migrant workers. ‘Managing New Migration: A local approach to a global phenomenon,’ also suggests improved training and support for local people.

The report, which is available to buy or download from the Network, says that while some areas have benefited from the arrival of migrant workers changes to the current funding mechanism for local authorities could help other communities who have faced a significant impact from migration to cope. The report’s author, Matthew Clifton, argues that replacing a crude local authority grant with a share of tax revenue could help relieve pressure on services and budgets.

“The share of income tax is particularly powerful and requires no change in the national tax regime, nor does it require the introduction of any new local tax. But a local assignment of income tax does create an automatic mechanism to reward local growth and create an incentive to improve local service management,” he writes. Other proposals in the report, which has been supported by the Learning and Skills Council, include developing better, localised forms of data management and offering greater training and support to long-standing residents who are unemployed or otherwise disadvantaged.

The report acknowledges that people not in education, employment or training – the so-called NEETs – need more support from councils and their partners and suggests those who are long-term unemployed should be guaranteed interviews for relevant jobs. It believes this will help to mitigate the effects of an influx of migrant workers. “Local action should target a generation of disadvantaged people, neglected by today’s global jobs market and unable to participate in Britain ’s growing economy,” the report says.