LGA launches manifesto for local councils

7 Sep 00
The Local Government Association joined this week's manifesto frenzy in an attempt to halt the government's drive to marginalise councils in the run-up to the General Election.

08 September 2000

The LGA's four political leaders are due to present the manifesto, Opportunity to prosper: a new agenda for local communities, to Downing Street on September 11, as part of the launch of its Local Democracy Week 2000.

The move reflects the LGA's political tactic of trying to stay one step ahead of the government. It has already created the Improvement and Development Agency to put its own house in order and the manifesto is the latest step to halt Whitehall's encroachment on its powers.

The main themes of the mini-manifesto are more resources and freedom, although it also calls for 'an effective partnership' between councils and central government.

One of its more radical proposals is a 'benefit transfer', allowing authorities to switch funds from welfare budgets to local employment projects.

It also wants a review of drugs legislation and other 'relevant law' to encourage more youngsters to engage in national political debate.

But the LGA demonstrates its fears over the future of benefits services with the proposal to 'establish councils as the first point of access for all services', requiring all other public bodies to 'co-operate'.

'Problems cannot be tackled from Whitehall,' said Sir Jeremy Beecham, LGA chair. 'Now the LGA challenges the political parties to acknowledge the importance of local government and local choice in their election campaigns and to give councils the freedom and resources to meet the needs of their communities.'


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