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LGA CONF: TORIES VOW TO FREE COUNCILS FROM TYRANNY OF GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY

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Bernard Jenkin, shadow minister for transport, speaking last night to Conservative councillors attending the Local ...
Bernard Jenkin, shadow minister for transport, speaking last night to Conservative councillors attending the Local Government Association annual conference at Bournemouth pledged to reverse the government's new law forcing local authorities to produce a Local Transport Plan. This is part of a general policy to free local councils from unnecessary bureaucracy to be unveiled tomorrow by the leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague.

Mr Jenkin said: 'I pledge to free councils from this unnecessary burden and to abolish statutory Local Transport Plans (LTPs). Under John Prescott's policy, he intends to sign off each plan - meaning that the purchase of a dozen reflective jackets for crossing patrols would have to be approved by the secretary of state. This is centralism and bureaucracy run riot.

'There are 108 local authorities, each obliged to produce a separate LTP. They comprise a total of some 85,000 pages - a pile of paper measuring more than 12 feet high, costing more than£20m to prepare.

'I will also scrap the 'telephone directory' of government guidance to local councils about their transport policies. This should be kept to a bare minimum. Councils should be free to decide their own transport policies. The one thing we can all learn from Labour's three years in power is that Whitehall cannot dictate all the answers. This is part of what William Hague will be speaking about tomorrow at the LGA conference. Unlike Labour, when we say 'local solutions to local problems', we mean what we say. '

Notes

108 local authorities (34 English county councils, 46 unitaries, 6 PTAs, 22 Welsh local authorities) would be required under the Transport Bill currently going through parliament to produce local transport plans. As an example, the Hampshire local transport plan runs to 800 pages and measures 1.5 inches and cost£190,000 to prepare.

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