Sunday, 16 November 2003


Luton is a large town situated appoximately thirty miles north of London in the county of Bedfordshire. It is a multi-racial town, in which the principle industries have been manufacturing in basis. However in recent times, manufacturng industries have been replaced by service sector businesses.

Luton Borough Council is a unitary authority, meaning that is possesses the combined powers of other district and county councils in England. I do feel though that the scope of the council, even with these new powers, must be questioned. Currently the Liberal Democrat run council owns swimming pools, leisure centres, youth clubs, golf courses and many other things that could easily be funded by the private sector.

Council taxes remain low, in comparison with neighbouring councils (such as South Bedfordshire or North Hertfordshire councils). Nonetheless, this example of big government (in my mind) cannot be condoned. Numerous golf courses exist as private entities. Is there ANY true need for it to be owned by local government? Why can't a swimming pool be administered in private hands? Some may balk at the notion of a privately owned swimming pool; still a non-profit pool would by definition be privately owned. Why can't local communities own and administer the pool? Even the local refuse collection services might be improved if provided in a free market. Who is the state to have a monopoly on such a service?

As a libertarian, I feel that the size of government should be reduced in order to protect the rights of the individual. Luton Borough Council (and other local government institutions within the UK) should primarily be concerned with maintaining basic infrastructure within their jurisdiction. Is there any logical reason why the private sector cannot adequately handle the services that the state already supplies?