government plans to turn around poorly-performing local councils published
'Whitehall interference in local government activities has reached an all
time high under this centralising Labour government.
'Local councils have to produce over 70 plans for the benefit of central
government. An increasing amount of government funding for local councils is
ring-fenced. There is an ever-burgeoning inspection regime.
'Local councils are increasingly little more than the outpost of the central
government empire. If local councils are getting it wrong, the blame often
lies with ministers anyway.
'Many government departments are failing - does the deputy prime minister
have proposals to take them over too?
'It's time for the government to lay off local councils. Councils should be
allowed to raise more of the money they spend, with a corresponding
reduction in national income tax.
'Councils should be more accountable to the people they serve, and not to