Thomas Bridge 01 December 2014

Leaders of 119 councils demand devolution and end to austerity

The leaders of 119 councils in England have united to demand an end to austerity and greater power to match Scottish devolution commitments.

In an open letter to the Government published in the Observer, a body including 65 Labour, 30 Conservative and 10 Liberal Democrat leaders brand it ‘vital’ that stronger powers and greater shares of tax and spending are extended beyond Westminster.

With the Smith Commission last week setting out a wave of new powers for Scotland over funding and tax, local government leaders in England warned their communities were looking ‘north of the border with envy’ and would ‘expect nothing less’ than to see the same controls extended across the UK.

‘There is compelling evidence that taking decisions closer to the people affected achieves better results and saves money. It is vital that the Autumn Statement sets out a new settlement for England,’ the letter reads.

Town hall leaders also warned that any further budget cuts in addition to the 40% fall witnessed since 2010 would have a ‘detrimental impact on people’s quality of life’ and risk bringing to an end ‘vital services’.

The letter states libraries, leisure centres and road maintenance continue to ‘buckle under the strain’ of spending reductions and the cost of caring for the elderly population.

Leaders wrote: ‘Funding for services provided by councils has borne the brunt of austerity while demand continues to rise. When the chancellor delivers his autumn statement this Wednesday, “more of the same” cannot be an option.’

Failure to deal with falling budgets would ‘jeopardise other services’ and ‘pass costs on to the NHS, which will have to pick up the pieces if we cannot protect adult social care or provide the services that keep people healthy’ – according to council leaders.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have made commitments to devolve more power to English cities, with chancellor George Osborne’s deal for Greater Manchester among a raft of measures expected to support creation of a ‘northern powerhouse’.

Hilary Benn MP, Labour’s shadow communities secretary, said: ‘Devolution isn’t just for Scotland. There is an unstoppable tide now flowing right across England in favour of people having more power locally.

‘If we want to get the economy moving in all parts of the country, then we need to give local communities more power to shape their own future,’ he added.

Skate parks are not the only fruit image

Skate parks are not the only fruit

On Go Skateboarding Day, Susannah Walker asks councils and their leisure and park departments to think differently about what facilities they provide for teenagers.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - Adult Social Care (CLDT)

Bolton Council
£31,895
This is a permanent Social Work role in Adult Social Care. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Principal Programme Officer

Bolton Council
£35,336
Do you enjoy variety and change? Can you keep your eye on the detail whilst also thinking strategically? Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

IDT Junior Developer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£28,226 - £30,095
Telford & Wrekin Council are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated Junior Developer. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Activities Leader (Outdoor Adventurous Activities)

Leicestershire County Council
£20,856
Lead activities and ensure that delivery of programmes are of a high standard. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Transition Support Worker (Complex Needs)

Leicestershire County Council
£19,701
This is an exciting opportunity for to work with an experienced team delivering high quality learning opportunities and care. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.