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FORSYTH HITS OUT AT 'PETTY POWERS'

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Councils should learn to see their role as 'agents of empowerment' rather than clinging to 'petty powers' which hav...
Councils should learn to see their role as 'agents of empowerment' rather than clinging to 'petty powers' which have lost their relevance, Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth told the conference on Wednesday.

Tories do not have an 'uncritical infatuation' with local government, Mr Forsyth said.

Denouncing Scottish councils as practical illustrations of Labour in power, Mr Forsyth attacked the 'partisan packing' of committees, unfair allocation of members' allowances and manipulation of standing orders.

'We might have hoped that the creation of the new unitary authorities would have provided a watershed, an opportunity to leave behind the bad old ways and start with a clean slate,' he said.

'Not so. Already the recruitment of officials for several of the new authorities has become the subject of newspaper headlines. Such conduct cannot be tolerated. It is a cancer at the heart of democracy.'

Local authorities should be 'clearing houses' in an enabling system, not service providers.

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