Magazine article Public Finance

Pickles Pledges More Powers for Councils

Magazine article Public Finance

Pickles Pledges More Powers for Councils

Article excerpt

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has berated councils for not making full use of their wellbeing powers, challenging them to become more ambitious and radical.

Speaking at a Local Government Association conference this week, Pickles promised to be local government's 'champion at Cabinet'.

He said: 'Be as ambitious as you can, be as radical as you like. Be as bold as you want. Make me an offer I can't refuse... I absolutely trust local government to deliver.'

Pickles emphasised that he wanted to give councils more power and freedom, but also asked: 'Why is it that only around 15% of councils have used their power to promote wellbeing?'

The secretary of state promised that a power of general competence for local government would be introduced in the autumn. He also claimed the credit for councils being given a new role overseeing public health in this month's NHS white paper.

But, he added: 'Obviously, there have got to be limits. …

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