Town hall policy group wins Labours ear

6 Jul 00
The Local Government Association's Labour group has won approval for a series of key policy amendments from Labour's National Policy Forum (NPF). The amendments were put forward to the NPF, which was due to meet on July 7.

07 July 2000

Six policy documents covering areas such as the environment, democracy and education, are likely to be accepted by the conference and will be used to formulate Labour's next General Election manifesto.

Amendments already accepted include one that states local authorities are 'in the best position to provide accountable, democratically-elected civic leadership'.

Steve Bullock, head of Labour affairs at the LGA, said this was a key concession affirming the vital role of local government in democratic renewal.

'A resurgence of interest in local government will not be achieved by new structures alone. In the second term Labour needs to raise the status of local government,' he said.

The 180-strong NPF, whose membership is drawn from across the party, has also agreed local authorities' right to regain control of failing services once they have improved sufficiently.

Bullock said the decision established an important principle. 'Intervention should only ever be an emergency measure, not an act of policy.'

But he emphasised that LGA representatives would fight for the 90 other amendments, which include block funding from central government to allow councils to decide priorities locally, and greater freedom to raise money.


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