Magazine article Public Finance

Time to Deliver on Localism, Says LGA

Magazine article Public Finance

Time to Deliver on Localism, Says LGA

Article excerpt

The government is running out of time to deliver on its localism agenda and risking disaffection throughout local government, Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart has warned.

The chair of the Local Government Association told Public Finance that although recent discussions with ministers across Whitehall had been productive, 'the big question' was whether they would lead to a meaningful devolution of power.

'We have reached a stage in the rhetoric where, if we don't see movement in 2006, we are not likely to, and people will be very disillusioned,' he added.

Bruce-Lockhart sounded his warning after David Miliband used a major speech to the New Local Government Network's annual conference to pledge to tackle the 'power gap' that exists at the local level.

The communities and local government minister said this would be achieved by a 'double devolution of power, from Whitehall to town halls, and from town halls to neighbourhoods.

Miliband, speaking on January 18, said 'neighbourhood empowerment', taking a variety of forms, would be the key. 'It is not possible, sitting in Whitehall, to say what approach will work for what community under what circumstances. That is a matter for councils and other public service providers in consultation with their residents,' he told delegates. …

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