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HAGUE 'CUTS CENTRAL CONTROLS ON LOCAL GOVT'

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Welsh secretary William Hague today unveiled the latest stage in his plans for building a new relationship with loc...
Welsh secretary William Hague today unveiled the latest stage in his plans for building a new relationship with local government and giving local representatives more power to make local decisions.

The document, The Welsh Office and Local Government: Redefining the Relationship - Response to the Consultation Exercise', sets out Mr Hague's decisions in a number of important areas including the progressive transfer to local authorities of all Strategic Development Scheme funding and the setting up of a free-standing executive to manage European funds in Wales.

It also points to the removal of certain administrative controls, gives local government greater authority for managing trunk roads and sets out the latest position on proposals that are still under consideration.

This follows a consultation paper in March which set out Mr Hague's proposals for transferring a number of responsibilities from the Welsh Office to local authorities. Mr Hague said in a written parliamentary answer: 'This paper sets out the decisions I have made on all the proposals contained in the earlier document.

'The changes will strengthen the already important and valued role of local government in Wales. This should lead to more local decisions being taken by locally-elected representatives and a better service for local people.

'This is part of the continuing debate on the redefinition of the Welsh Office's relationship with local government. I want local government and its partners to rise to the challenge and to come forward with constructive proposals for further change.

'The only condition I make is that any change contributes to good stewardship of public money and, above all, improves the quality of services to local people.'

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