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BRISCOE DETAILS TASKS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN COMING YEAR

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Writing in the latest issue of the Local Government Association's magazine, Talkback, chief executive Brian Briscoe...
Writing in the latest issue of the Local Government Association's magazine, Talkback, chief executive Brian Briscoe says:

'We now have a Labour government and on May 14th the Queen's speech will set out proposals for legislation and government action. Speculation over what the party manifestos mean for local government over the next parliament will not stop with the election. What will be done first? What needs legislation, regulation, ministerial guidance?

It is clear that local communities expect their local and central governments to work together to solve the problems faced by towns and cities and rural areas. The LGA's Mori survey showed that this was high up the list of public expectations. Working together hasn't always been the hallmark of central/local relations and as the last government's response to the Hunt committee report acknowledged, the experience of the 1980s is not one to be repeated.

The task is about more than conversation in Westminster and Whitehall. Local government has to be to help deliver the national and local priorities of safer communities and less crime, more jobs and less poverty, protection and creation of a decent environment, good housing and education, and proper care for the vulnerable.

None of this will be easy with restricted resources and limited powers; but if we can demonstrate more of the ingenuity and innovation which have enabled improvements in service quality despite the financial difficulties of recent years, we can begin to win the case for more freedom to serve local communities according to their needs.

1997 is a great opportunity; let's make the most of it.'

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