Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
The government is working increasingly closely with councils but has still not accepted they have an independent ro...
The government is working increasingly closely with councils but has still not accepted they have an independent role, the Local Government Association said on the fifth anniversary of the Blair government.

The key pledge in Labour's 1997 manifesto was to 'join forces with local government in a concerted attack against the multiple causes of social and economic decline - unemployment, bad housing, crime, poor health and a degraded environment'. While Labour reversed years of spending cuts under the Conservative government, evidence of central government 'joining forces' has been patchy. Instead, the relationship has too often been one of councils carrying out ministerial commands.

Local Government Association chair Sir Jeremy Beecham (Lab) said the government had made significant progress in tackling key social issues such as deprivation and unemployment, and cited the central/local partnership, local public service agreements and recent discussions on delivering shared priorities as evidence of a more collaborative approach from ministers.

'With the notable exception of the announcement on bed-blocking we have usually been involved in discussion in advance on policy issues,' he said. 'The local government white paper, published with the backing of the Treasury and Downing Street, marks out a different approach, but is not always being carried through to the rest of the Whitehall departments.' Sir Jeremy hoped Labour would take to heart the idea that councils had an independent role to play.

Pledges Labour has dropped include electing a proportion of every council annually, and carrying out meaningful consultations on returning the business rate to local control, despite the 'sound democratic reasons' for doing so.
  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.