Tony Travers quite rightly outlines the changes in the regulatory framework which means we are unlikely to return to the days of ratecapping and defiance of central government.  Statutory provisions and statutory officers are in place to prevent this happening. 

So what is a new council elected in May going to do to manage the continued impact on communities of the austerity agenda.  

There are not a lot of levers and even a free hand on council tax would be hugely regressive and unfair as even within London the range is so big that a 10% rise could be as little as £80 and as much as £ 300-400.   

Cutting senior staff salaries is totally symbolic as it will save little money and drain talent.   

A far more progressive approach is to follow the example of numerous local authorities around the country and embrace commercial opportunities. This is not about privatisation but about returning local government to its roots and providing electricity or extending waste services.   

The key thing for a newly elected council  is surely about delivering the best possible services it can to its communities, not refighting the battles of the 1980s or making grand political gestures.