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Local Government: Should there be place for it in the UK constitution?

Posted by Malte Werner (Admin) Jan 16, 2015 Posted in News and Videos
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In the first of a weekly series by ConstitutionUK, Professor Conor Gearty talks to Tony Travers - Advisor to the House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Select Committee and Board Member of the Local Government Network – about the issues surrounding local government.

What should local government be empowered to control?
Where are the pitfalls?
How prone are local officials to corruption?

All these issues form part of the "Local Government" challenge. We need you to share ideas, debate topics and help shape new ways of thinking. Join the debate and share your ideas here!

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This post was edited on Jan 28, 2015 by Malte Werner

Local Government: Should there be place for it in the UK constitution?
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Comments (1)

Joy Bullivant says... Feb 4, 2015

Much of what councils used to have control over has been diluted over time or in some cases removed to Central Government. I think that it is this lack of power over local matters such as regulating public transport, targeting particular local concerns that has actually closed down interst for many in all politics. What is the point of voting in elections if the Council you voted in is unable to take decisions that it stated in its manifesto because central government blocks it raising council tax or caps its funding if it fails to follow Central Governments ideas. Here in Sheffield there is a long story of Labour Councils Initiatives being shut down by Central Government when an apposing party takes power. There is no guarantee for Councils which have a party controlling them which is the opposite of the Central controlling Party that they will be able to carry out policies they have the local mandate for. This is contrary to democracy and has led in my opinion to the public disatisfaction with voting. Voting numbers starting dropping when central govt took away local powers. If there was a constitution that made law a legal framework to give back and let them keep certain powers no matter which party held control it could make a difference. 

Powers council have lost are such things as public water supply, regulation of public transport and at present they are losing LEAs. These are important powers because we have the problems in places like Manchester that have too many buses and Sheffield that has too few. We have Free schools half empty while in other areas there are too few places. This taking away powers from the Local Councils interferes with proper planning and often doubles the amount of beurocracy. Putting control back in the Councils hands on local matters would help streamline policies and save money as it would allow better targetting of resources. There is no need for local mayors which is just another layer of beurocracy and not particularily democratic when 1 person can overule the many. There is no need for local parliaments. That is what Councils are. Why do we need yet another level of Government? 

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