welcome' to a speech* by Stephen Byers, the secretary of state for
transport, local government and the regions.
Mr Skellett said: 'The speech holds out some hope that at ministers are
starting to recognise that good government is local government.
However, I will be watching very closely the government's plans for the
regions and reforming the local government finance system. Any change
in the finance system must be fair, equitable and not penalise the
'Councils like Surrey are leading the way in bringing better public
services to people. We've got a record of innovation despite the
constraints central government has placed upon us. Our first priority is
giving people the best services possible. We could do even more if we
had some additional flexibility.
'So it's good to hear the secretary of state say our front line should
not be hindered by central government diktat. Getting rid of the red
tape holding back councils like Surrey has to be a good start.
'If the government delivers the flexibilities promised in Mr Byers
speech, then we should sound a cautiously optimistic note. Local
government can and will deliver the goods if central government gives it
more freedom to do so.
'We in Surrey have some excellent ideas for how to achieve this. We
would welcome the opportunity to discuss them first hand with the
secretary of state.'
* see LGCnet