The tradition of local elections in May where voters may register their approval or disapproval about the council tax bills they have received has been seen as insufficient for the best part of 30 years, which is why governments have had various mechanisms for restraining the level of increase. However, the government is now consulting on a method that would put the power to local people by requiring proposed increases about a centrally-dictated level to be the subject of a local referendum. If it becomes law I will certainly be curious to see whether some towns decide to have higher taxes in return for higher spending.
Also, it was an interesting choice of example by Eric Pickles in this article. In fact, rather than being halved, domestic refuse collection now collects more waste than it did in 1997 (because we keep on consuming and consuming) and simultaneously it has managed to increase the tonnage and the percentage that is recycled. One might suggest that such a front line service has been transformed for the better not the worse.