Communities secretary Greg Clark has praised councils for absorbing budget cuts with ‘cool-headed efficiency’, marking a change in attitude to the sector compared with his predecessor.
Speaking at the Local Government Association annual conference, Mr Clark said local government did ‘not often get the respect it deserves’ and that ‘every one of its staff counts’.
He promised to be a ‘tireless advocate’ for local government, admitting his predecessor Eric Pickles had a ‘rumbustious relationship’ with the sector.
In his speech, Mr Clark said ‘born again localists are appearing everywhere in Whitehall and even the Treasury’ based on the recognition that a ‘central plan for everywhere won’t work anywhere’.
He urged all councils to seize the devolution agenda adding: ‘Why wait and miss your chance to break free?’