Heather Jameson 18 November 2013

Pickles hits out at counties over LEPs

Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles told county leaders it was their own fault if Local Enterprise Partnerships were unaccountable and a mystery to the public.

Speaking at the County Councils' Network annual conference in Chester today, Mr Pickles received a hostile reception.
Responding to complaints that LEPs had been given top sliced funding but are ‘responsible to no-one,’ he replied: ‘If that’s a problem, that is your own fault.’
Mr Pickles claimed the partnerships were formed for local government to work together with local businesses, but they were all working well.
He also warned councillors not to be ‘democracy dodgers’ by raising council tax to just below the threshold of a referendum.
Mr Pickles told delegates: ‘If you think you should put up your council tax, take it to the people …. but don’t tell me the electorate is too stupid to understand.’
He later added: ‘There’s nothing wrong with local democracy… I don’t know why you are all so scared.’ 
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