Labour told to ease grip on local government

Liberal Democrats and Conservatives joined forces at the
conference to call for the Labour government to loosen its rein on
local government.

Shadow cabinet office minister Andrew Lansley called for local
authorities to be given a greater decision-making role and the
right to raise and spend a larger proportion of their income

Lansley also warned of the danger of the new local public
service agreements (PSAs) being used as a way of forcing local
government to prioritise central government targets above local

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said that low turn-out
at local elections was partly due to the public’s belief that local
government had little power to improve their quality of life. “We
will be urging government to learn to let go and start giving local
government a much greater degree of independence and much greater
control over their own affairs,” Kennedy said.

“Local councils are not wholly owned subsidiaries of central
government and they should no longer be seen as local implementers
of national policy.”

The demands followed the passing of a motion by the LGA assembly
calling on the government to “limit future policy initiatives to
principles” to allow councils to work out detail for themselves

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