Mr Reed argues that a positive agenda to improve services and bring local government nearer to the people could be a big vote winner.
He suggests some priorities that could be adopted for party manifestos:
- a declaration of a positive partnership between central and local government with the aim of improving local services and strengthening local democracy
- a promise to introduce a power of general competence together with encouragement to local authorities to experiment with roles and structures
- a plan to make the 'quango state' genuinely accountable with local government playing a key and active role
- a return of business rates to local control, a relaxation of constraints on the use of capital receipts, and encouragement to explore other means of local income generation
- a commitment to improve turn-outs in local elections.