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LGA TAKES AN HONEST VIEW OF ITS IMPACT ON GOVERNMENT

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The LGA has taken an honest view of its impact on government a year into ...
The LGA has taken an honest view of its impact on government a year into

the Blair second term. In its summer review due to be presented to delegates

at the forthcoming annual conference, the LGA's achievements in influencing

the policy debate, is set against a clear message that 'Whitehall's grip on

local government is still too tight'.

The LGA review, 'Loosening the Grip' details the association's success in

demonstrating that delivering better public services depends on councils and

other local bodies being free to reflect local needs.

It is hoped that these issues are addressed by the leaders of all three

political parties in their speeches to the conference next month.

The review says: 'We had a major impact on the local government white paper.

It supports less regulation and more local autonomy. It backs our idea that

government and council's should agree shared priorities.

'But we have seen an education bill which threatens statutory ringfenced

funding and gives more powers to the secretary of state. And progress with

the comprehensive performance assessment of councils is more evident than

the delivery of ambitions freedoms and flexibilities to them.

'The reality is that, despite our efforts, too many in government see

central prescription as the answer. Too often the response to problems on

the ground is a new national initiative. Councils are too constrained, both

financially and in terms of their ability to act.

'Whitehall's grip is too tight. This reviews explains how we are addressing

the issue'.

NOTES

1. A full copy of 'Loosening the Grip' the LGA summer review 2002 is

available on the LGA website .

2. These issues will feature in the debates taking place during the

programme of events scheduled for the LGA's annual conference (2-5th July 2002 at the Bournemouth International Centre).

3. Speakers at the conference include; Jeremy Beecham, chair of

the LGA, John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, Iain Duncan

Smith, leader of the Conservative Party, and Charles Kennedy,

leader of the Liberal Democrat Party.

4. A copy of the full LGA annual conference programme is available on the

LGA website .

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