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Patience and willingness to play a canny long game will be key for local leaders.
Announcements made by the Chancellor could mean that local authorities face a financial tipping point during the course of this Parliament.
If Osborne really does plan to lead his party he needs to present himself and his party as more receptive, less dogmatic and more sincere. He has a mountain to climb. Meanwhile the Labour Party is once again a dysfunctional family sitting down to a Christmas dinner they have choked on in the past.
They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but following the Chancellor’s surprise announcement that by 2020 councils will be able to keep some £26bn of business rates, many of us in local government have taken a sudden interest in equine dentistry.
Love him or hate him, there can be no doubt of the ability of George Osborne to deliver a shock to the system at a time that you least expect it.
When it comes to forging paths, UK councils can be like optimistic youngsters at the start of their journey, asking themselves: what’s the best way forward?