Prime minister Gordon Brown unveiled the government's legislative agenda within the speech, which contains plans to boost community empowerment giving "people greater power to influence local decisions in areas such as council spending, health and police" ( LGCPlus, 14 May 2008 ).
The LGA has produced a paper in response. A spokesman attacked moves to create directly elected representatives as creating another layer of bureaucracy.
“What we are saying is that local authorities are already there and they are democratically elected, in tune with what local people want and it would be a real mistake to bypass them,” he said.
'Don't bypass councillors'
In the paper, the LGA said councils are “visible, open and democratically accountable to the residents they serve. Bypassing directly elected councillors risks disrupting the successful local work which is already occurring."
It added: “The government is absolutely right to want to improve people's influence over local decisions. Many councils are already leading the way on this issue, responding to thousands of petitions every year. Councils will want to ensure that new legislation doesn't impose unnecessary new rules for town halls to follow.”
The LGA was also disappointed that the government had been “overly cautious” in its approach to the supplementary business rate.