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'ARMSTRONG TO CONSIDER FOURTH OPTION ON STRUCTURE'

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Camden LBC has welcomed local government minister Hilary Armstrong's announcement that she would consider a fourth ...
Camden LBC has welcomed local government minister Hilary Armstrong's announcement that she would consider a fourth option for changing the way councils are run, reports The Hampstead and Highgate Express.

It has now called for a meeting with Ms Armstrong to press for consideration of an improved committee system to be included in the Local Government Bill, together with the right to present different options to the electorate in a referendum.

Camden's Liberal Democrat group leader, Flick Rea, said that the council's Labour leadership had been forced to accept there was little public support for any of the proposed reforms, following a borough-wide survey earlier this year.

She said talks between political group leaders were underway aimed at hammering out principles which should 'underpin Camden's local government - and to find ways of keeping what is good about the present system'.

Meanwhile, a meeting called by the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies, attended by representatives of several London boroughs, heard the organisation's chair, Marion Harvey, say she agreed with the government objectives but wondered whether there were sufficient safeguards to stop councillors abusing their power.

She added: 'We are concerned that scrutiny panels will not have enough teeth and there will be too much control placed in too few hands.'

The London Forum, which represents more than 100 groups, passed a resolution calling on the government to amend the draft legislation so councils could consider alternative options.

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