Laura Sharman 03 July 2013

Councils told get to 'off their knees' and demand more power

Local government should use the Reviving Public Services paper to 'get off its knees' and demand more power and freedom from Government, according to Graham Allen MP for Nottingham North.

Speaking at the 2013 Local Government Association conference, Mr Allen urged delegates to use the paper to break away from central government control and run their own affairs.

Looking ahead, Mr Allen said the powers of local government needed to be defined in law so it becomes a 'separate, viable entity'. This, he claimed, would stop local councils being subservient to central government and convince everyone 'we in local government are the answer not the problem'.

Graham AllenGraham Allen said local government should become a ‘separate, viable entity’.

At the same panel discussion, Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton and Hove Council, also called for local government to be given a legal right to exist, including the power to raise local taxes. However he did ask delegates that if the paper was adopted, would local government actually be ready to distribute its own funding? He said there is some way to go yet, but a shift now in mindsets would prepare the sector for changes ahead.

Kitcat also asked: 'If the Government is not funding us, why do we need to wait for them to make decisions? Why should we preceded over managed retreat of services?'

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