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Local Government criticises new localism

30 June 2003

Local council leaders from across the political divide have joined together to voice opposition to the Government's policy of 'new localism'.

Ironically dubbed 'new centralism' by Councillor Sir Jeremy Beecham, Chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), the policy of directly electing boards for public institutions such as the police, schools and hopsitals is being criticised for failing to deliver true accountability and power to local people.

Speaking ahead of the LGA's annual conference, Sir Jeremy called for the Government to "deliver your commitment to let us get on with the job."

"Tony Blair says the key to improved services is decentralisation and choice. We want to take him at his word, but real decentralisation means the devolution of power and accountability not just the decentralisation of management. This challenge applies not just to government, but to all the political parties", he said.

At its annual conference, the LGA will lobby for a new framework which woul balance government's role in setting clear standards nationally, with the need for more responsive and autonomous local government.

Read the LGA press release

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