Magazine article Public Finance

Double Trouble

Magazine article Public Finance

Double Trouble

Article excerpt

David Miliband's star is definitely in the ascendant. Tony Blair certainly thinks so - hie went so far as to name the communities and local government minister as a key player in taking New Labour to the'next stage'.

But the young pretender still has some work to do to win over those on his current patch who have concerns about he long-term prospects for local government.

Speaking at this week's New Local Government Network conference, Miliband articulated his familiar theme of devolving power locally. He talked of neighbourhood frameworks and charters, and a community 'Right to Buy'. He even proposed a 'double devolution', with both Whitehall and town halls doing their bit.

The problem for those working in English councils is that they see little being devolved to local authorities. In fact, central government seems to be doing its best to take powers away.

Miliband had warm words about targets and inspections being 'proportionate'. There was also a suggestion that sat isiuction surveys, rather than inspection, could t rigger external challenge.

However, there was no rethink on the education white paper's proposal to downgrade the role oflocal educat ion aut horit ies. …

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