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LGIU SUGGESTS MANIFESTO FOR POLITICAL PARTIES

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Political parties will be missing a golden opportunity if they fail to make local government a positive issue in th...
Political parties will be missing a golden opportunity if they fail to make local government a positive issue in the forthcoming general election campaign, according to Dennis Reed, executive director of the Local Government Information Unit writing in the Municipal Journal.

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 pledge to sign the European Charter of Local Self-Government and to entrench the constitutional position of local government to protect it in the future

- 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.

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