Local government is entering the ‘most critical period’ in its history and must seize the opportunities offered by devolution, according to the leader of Westminster City Council.
Cllr Philippa Roe said she will outline London’s bid for more devolution at next week’s Conservative conference, saying the Capital will be calling for greater powers to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour, the shortfall of school places and unemployment.
‘Unless we take bold action now to work together to reform how funding and power are shared between Whitehall and local places, we will find ourselves poorly equipped to provide the services people expect and undermine our achievements to date,’ cllr Roe will say.
Cllr Roe will make the case to give frontline officers more power to act against anti-social behaviour, arguing that early action can prevent people committing more serious crime in the future.
Cllr Roe will say: ‘Here in Westminster we have a challenge like no other, as the West End has the same amount of recorded crimes a year as the city centre of Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham combined.
‘We think that we can cut crime rates in major cities like London, by nipping problems in the bud. Give greater powers to our front-line services to enforce against individuals engaged in anti-social behaviour – so often the first step on the path to more serious crime.’