A local government think tank has told Whitehall they cannot ‘cherry pick’ what powers are handed down locally and has called for ‘radical change’ to help councils tackle major challenges.
A new report out today from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) argues the leaders of cities and city regions should be given ‘a firm, constitutional role’ so they are better placed to respond to Brexit, the Government’s industrial strategy and reforms to local government finances.
Entitled Beyond Devolution: the final report of the local democracy network, calls for the establishment of a mayors’ senate, a commission on local government finance led by local government, a constitutional settlement, and a reinvigoration of devolution.
‘Democracy is at a crossroads. We cannot rely on central government alone to guide us through the enormous challenges that lie ahead,’ said LGiU chief executive Jonathan Carr-West, as he announced the report’s publication.
‘We need radical change that gives greater power to civic leaders outside Westminster and an overhaul of how local areas are funded, led by local government.’
‘Central government has limited capacity and inclination to focus on local areas,’ he continued.
‘It is local representatives who understand the pressures faced up and down the country, as well as the needs and aspirations of local communities.
‘We need to draw on the innovation, civic energy and problem solving capacity that can be mobilised by local government, local communities and local leaders.’