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BEECHAM TELLS COMMONWEALTH: 'WE CAN LEARN FROM EACH OTHER'

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Local authorities around the world have much to teach and learn from each other, said Jeremy Beecham, speaking to t...
Local authorities around the world have much to teach and learn from each other, said Jeremy Beecham, speaking to the Commonwealth Local

Government conference in Edinburgh today.

Sir Jeremy, chair of the LGA, welcomed the work of the Commonwealth

Forum in promoting the wide range of experience and good practice constantly emerging from local government internationally. Although one system of local government would not be applicable to all circumstances, Sir Jeremy argued that certain principles - such as those enshrined in the European Charter for local self government, could be usefully shared.

Recently signed by the British government, Sir Jeremy said the Charter

affirmed local democracy and called for the greatest degree of autonomy and financial independence for local government.

Local government, based on local democracy, has the legitimacy to exercise the role of community leadership, to engage the involvement of the different and sometimes competing interests, to take the long view and to order priorities within a locally determined strategic framework, he said.

National governments have a critical role to play in promoting

sustainability, protecting the environment and fighting against disease, poverty and disadvantage, said Sir Jeremy. In that struggle local government clearly has a crucial role. The LGA, through our International Bureau, and with the bilateral relationships between individual authorities and areas, will play its part in meeting these objectives, he said.

'Animated by [the] spirit of social justice, determined to develop and draw on a shared sense of civic and communal pride, acting through partnership and at all times accountable to those we represent, democratic local government throughout the Commonwealth pledges itself at this conference to work share and learn together', Sir Jeremy concluded.

The full text of the speech is available on request from LGCnet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5.

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