Mayor calls for London super boroughs

15 Jun 00
Ken Livingstone has called for the 33 London boroughs to be abolished and replaced with 14 or 15 larger authorities with increased responsibilities, including control of health and transport.

16 June 2000

The London mayor, addressing a fringe meeting at the CIPFA conference in Brighton on June 14, said an independent commission should be set up to examine the proposals in detail and come up with a framework for the new bodies.

'I am convinced the mayor will eventually become the regional health authority for London,' Livingstone said. 'Obviously we can't see what is happening across London, so local government will get more involved with health, education and transport. I think we need 14 or 15 authorities instead of 33, to cover larger district-sized areas.'

He added: 'We need to have an independent commission to take evidence and make sure we get it right, but this isn't going to happen this side of an election.'

Livingstone said his proposed radical overhaul of local authorities in London would bring about a renaissance in local government, both in the capital and across Britain, and would boost progress towards a full system of devolved regional power.

'London councils used to be the largest boroughs in the country but they've had a terrible time in recent years,' he said. 'I don't want to take powers away from local government, I want to take them from central government.

'I have always believed that the concept of devolution should be the basis of modern society, not a centralised state. In 25 years, Britain will look much more like Germany or the United States.'

The veteran Left-winger also signalled his determination to use his new power to entrench the concept of devolution of power. 'This is a much more open and inclusive style of government and we'd be fools if we didn't seize it and run with it, because we'll never get it again.'


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