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LGA 2002 CONFERENCE REPORT - LGA AGREES TO SHARED PRIORITIES, DESPITE FEARS FOR ITS AUTONOMY

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The Local Government Association voted through a revised, streamlined set of shared priorities, despite allegations...
The Local Government Association voted through a revised, streamlined set of shared priorities, despite allegations from some quarters that the government is using the idea to control the organisation.

An article in the LGA's weekly newsletter to councillors, written in prime minister Tony Blair's name, described the shared priorities as 'historic'. It added: 'Local government - and the LGA in particular - has a central role to play in delivering the government's broader mission.'

LGA Conservative group leader Gordon Keymer said the tone suggested Mr Blair saw the LGA as a branch of government.

Wiltshire CC leader Peter Chalke (Con) said: 'The LGA has been seduced by this government to work to the government's agenda. It has spent too much time on things like the shared priorities, which of course we all approve of. But then the government puts through the education bill and a scandalous decision to fine councils over bed-blocking, when they are not giving us enough money to address the problem.'

Even LGA chair Sir Jeremy Beecham (Lab) admitted: 'The [priorities] will only be truly historic if they are accompanied by the same degree of imagination and enthusiasm in Whitehall as we have shown in Local Government House.'

But Dame Sally Powell (Lab) said: 'It's not simply about us delivering a central agenda. It's about getting support and getting an acknowledgement from central government for the role of local government.'

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