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EASTEAL URGES NON-PARTY POLLS

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Party domination of local government must be moderated if councils are to be a credible alternative to quangos, Loc...
Party domination of local government must be moderated if councils are to be a credible alternative to quangos, Local Government Commission chief executive Martin Easteal says in Review Focus 3, LGC's latest analysis of the progress of the structure review.

'Local government has to widen its base of support and representation locally if it wishes to be a credible alternative to quangos,' he says.

'Local elections are now dominated by party politics, and many people who have the interests of their local community at heart are put off from standing.'

Mr Easteal calls for a massive increase in local government's involvement in national policy formulation and proper recognition of councils' role in its implementation.

'This is a major objective in the establishment of one local authority association, which ought to have the clout to become an important player at a national level,' he says.

He calls on local government to campaign for denationalisation of the business rates and reversal of the decline in council funding collected through local taxes.

He says the absence of a two-tier structure for London is an anomaly and he has no doubt a two-tier structure will be restored.

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