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LGA wants Whitehall info on public spending

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Councils have called on Whitehall to open the books on local public spending.

The move is seen as essential to reap the benefits of new rules designed to give communities a greater say over how public money is spent locally.

Under new measures to enable local people to put forward suggestions on how public money could be better invested, Local Government Association chiefs want communities secretary Hazel Blears to publish public spending details by the autumn.

The call is a response to a consultation on the implementation of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 which requires the minister to outline details of how money is spent locally. That includes spending by local and central government, quangos and other agencies.

LGA to be 'selector'

The act allows for a ‘selector’ body to consider and short-list these proposals and the LGA has agreed to take on this role.

Sir Simon Milton, chair of LGA, said the new act has the “potential to allow people to make a real difference to the way money is spend on services”.

“One issue of concern, which the LGA has highlighted in its response to the consultation, is that the public spending statements may not be published by the government until six months after proposals have been invited. This undermines the scope of local people to propose changes to how their money is spent locally.”

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