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BEECHAM OUTLINES AIMS OF NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

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Restoring the autonomy - and answerability - of local government will be the main aim of the Local Government Assoc...
Restoring the autonomy - and answerability - of local government will be the main aim of the Local Government Association, reports The Journal (p8).

The new association marks the start of local government's fightback, says Jeremy Beecham, who is likely to be elected chairman at its first meeting on Thursday, says the paper.

'It's a proclamation of belief in local government. It's a positive affirmation of the values of local democracy and of our determination to make that count,' Sir Jeremy told the paper.

He insists that the idea of local government can be made a lot more popular than the low turn-out at elections would indicate. This, suggests Sir Jeremy, reflects the extent to which national government now controls the purse strings and calls the shots, reports The Journal.

'If people can't vote for what they want - or vote for it and not get it - it doesn't give them much incentive turn out and vote, does it?'

Sir Jeremy comments on the role of the civil service: 'I think the civil service under any government has always been dismissive and contemptuous of local government.

'The treasury, for example, has always been anxious to exercise control over what local government spends,' he told the paper.

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