Councils told localism is 'a necessity'
Although local authorities have made significant savings since the Comprehensive Spending Review, any further cuts will impact on frontline public services, delegates at the 2012 LGA conference have heard.
Ruth Dombey, Leader of London Borough of Sutton, explained how the council has made 25% in savings over the past two years without any impact on public services. However, that hasn’t been enough to plug the funding gap and another 15% must be found.
Dombey said the relationship between central and local government must change, arguing ‘localism is not longer a luxury but a necessity’. She added that councils need freedom to encourage economic growth and borrow on the open market to provide new homes and jobs.
Her message to Prime Minister, David Cameron, was: ‘Stop going on about cutting benefits to the under-25’s and give us the chance to provide jobs to get them off of benefits in the first place.’
Alec Robertson, leader of Cornwall Council also told delegates that Cornwall council had made £170m in savings over year one, with only £12m of this from public services. However, this ‘can only be done once’ and councils will need solid financial planning and good reserves if they are to make further cuts and efficiencies.
Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council called on CLG ministers to ‘protect local government’ and look at the impact cuts will have on local communities. He said: ‘It’s time for CLG ministers to stand up for local communities and for local services before it’s too late’.
Recent polls have shown a lack of confidence by Local Govt. of Central Govt. The real cuts are being made by the former the credit taken by the latter. The Govt agenda is to save money but don't push their own depts. as hard as Local govt.They daren't empower locally because it would show the nation how bereft Westminster are at running the country regardless of political persuasion. The time has come for a radical change but you won't get turkeys voting for christmas hence the status quo.Stephen Reimer, Added: Friday, 29 June 2012 01:12 PM
In the 80's and 90's localism played a big part in many communities in the UK. There was an army of volunteers doing heroic work. Then along came labour. They stifled it with a whole range of misguided policies. Not least the 'guilty until being proven innocent' CRB checks They spent loads of our money on expensive and inefficient organisations that forced out the volunteers. Only now we are seeing the folly of that approach ..J Smith, Added: Thursday, 28 June 2012 04:12 PM
Many thanks, headline now correctedLaura Sharman, Localgov editor, Added: Thursday, 28 June 2012 03:49 PM
Localism is not a necessity, how can the government expect services to be delivered by amateurs who are volunteers. Certainly the government are insisting on getting a gallon out of a pint pot, by underfunding and living in a fantasy world. Ministers would not know a proper public sector policy if they fell out of their ivory towers onto it. BTW. Necessity has one C!Graham, Added: Thursday, 28 June 2012 12:04 PM
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