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LGA CONFERENCE VOTES IN FAVOUR OF REVISED AND STREAMLINED SHARED PRIORITIES WITH CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

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The association voted through a revised, streamlined set of shared priorities despite allegations from some wings t...
The association voted through a revised, streamlined set of shared priorities despite allegations from some wings that the government is using the idea to control the LGA.

In an article allegedly written by Prime Minister in the LGA's weekly newsletter to councillors Tony Blair described the shared priorities as 'historic'. He 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 warned 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's spent too much time on things like [the shared priorities] which of course we all approve of. But [then] the government puts through an education bill which erodes the ability of councils to run education, and a scandalous decision to fine us over bed blocking when in fact they're not giving us enough money to address the problem.'

Even LGA chair Jeremy Beecham 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 Sally Powell said: 'The prime minister in his article described the shared priorities as a historic development, suggesting this approach has been a shared move. It's not simply about us delivering a central agenda. It's about getting support for local government and getting an acknowledgement from central government for the role of local government.'

by LGC political correspondent Varya Shaw

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