'The Tories have whittled down the powers of local authorities and have instead erected a network of quangos packed with Tory placemen.
'Decisions affecting local services should be made by those appointed on merit, not because they are Tory favourites.
'Labour believes decisions should be taken by the people they affect. Too many decisions are made at Whitehall. Decisions must be taken at the right level. They must be democratic decisions and they would be better decisions. That is why Labour would revitalise local government,' Mr Blair said.
'The English regions, like the North, where they wish to, should have their own elected regional assemblies, to take control of the quangos and to discharge some of the functions now performed from Whitehall.
'It is time for our machinery of government to reflect the diverse national, regional and local characteristics of the whole British people.
'I have a vision of our country governed by democratic structures that give full value to decision making at local, regional, national and European levels - a structure that gives democratic reality to pride in local community, pride in region and pride in national identity.'