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LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE: COMPOSITE 33 (LOCAL DEMOCRACY)

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Britain has seen a huge increase in non-elected bodies or quangos during the 18 years of Conservative government. T...
Britain has seen a huge increase in non-elected bodies or quangos during the 18 years of Conservative government. These quangos have become so powerful and influential that they control more organisations and spend more money than democratically elected local councils.

The people who control these bodies have been appointed with no reference to the people they serve, ie the public. Many of the people appointed have little or no experience of the services and resources they control and many of them do not live in the area or region that the quango represents. Conference believes that this is unacceptable and should be reversed. As a first step all such public bodies should, as soon as practically possible:

a. make meetings of these bodies, where possible, open to the public and minutes of these meetings should be published;

b. make the majority of board members democratically accountable;

c. publish a full set of annual accounts to include income and expenditure and the remuneration of board members;

d. have a public register of all board members to include their other interests.

Conference requests that the government begins reviewing all such bodies starting with the Commission for New Towns and later considering further and higher education funding councils, police authorities, and NHS authorities and trust boards, in particular special mention has been made of: the Commission for the New Towns.

All new towns, especially Stevenage, the first new town, have suffered because some of the decisions taken by the Commission for the New Towns (CNT) regarding acquisitions and disposal of land have been made without reference to the needs of people in the new towns. More recently the CNT has become a revenue-raising body for central government paying scant regard to local planning and development needs in the interests of the many, their aim has principally been, in working to this narrow objective, simply to dispose of land at a maximum price.

Conference requests that for first-generation new towns the CNT should be wound up without delay with the assets being transferred to the district or unitary authorities that administer the new towns, thus finally carrying out the terms of the 1946 New Towns Act which stated that, at the completion of the Development Corporation task, the assets and liabilities would be handed over to the local authority. Only then will the use or disposal of such land be undertaken in the best interest of local people.

In winding up the CNT for first-generation new towns, Conference requests that the assets acquired from the former urban development corporation should also be transferred to their respective local authorities.

Moved by: Stevenage CLP

Seconded by: Crawley CLP

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