Magazine article Public Finance

Blears' Local Petitions 'Could Be Hijacked by Extremists'

Magazine article Public Finance

Blears' Local Petitions 'Could Be Hijacked by Extremists'

Article excerpt

Plans to compel local authorities to respond to any petition signed by 250 residents could be 'hijacked' by extremist groups such as the British National Party, the Local Government Association has warned.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears launched the proposals on December 27. These would require councils to respond to residents' petitions on any issue for which the local authority is responsible, such as rubbish collection, abandoned cars or youth services.

If the authority fails to respond or the response is unsatisfactory, residents could then ask their local councillor to launch a scrutiny committee hearing, under new powers for a councillor call for action' included in the 2007 Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act. …

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