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Labour 2017: Gwynne promises bill to deliver 'local government renaissance'

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Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne has said a Labour government would introduce “some of the largest sets of reforms to local government in modern times”.

Speaking this afternoon at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Gwynne said the “radical plan” would “renew faith in local services” and “deliver a renaissance of local government”.

He said as well as councils being £1.5bn better off in the first year of a Labour government, there was also a need for “fresh ideas and fresh approaches” to services.

Mr Gwynne said a generation of “outsourcing and forced privatisation of services” had “hollowed out” the capacity of many councils to deliver for communities.

He added that rather than providing value for money as claimed, outsourcing had delivered savings through services being cut back, charges being introduced and staff pay and conditions being “attacked”.

Mr Gwynne also said decisions were taken “behind the cloak of commercial confidentiality” and contracts had resulted in councils “losing dedicated, qualified staff”.

He said: “The next Labour government will introduce a bill to rebuild our local services.

“In it we will give councils greater powers to deliver services themselves because our services should be run for local communities alone.”

Mr Gwynne said transparency and freedom of information rules would be extended “so we know where our money is going”.

He added a that “fair wage clause” would be introduced to end the “two-tier workforce”.

Mr Gwynne said: “Taken together these would represent some of the largest sets of reforms to local government in modern times.

“Empowering communities and rebuilding local institutions and local services because they are our public services – and we should always put people first.”

Last week Mr Gwynne told LGC that a Labour government would seek to empower councils through greater devolution and a new brand of “municipal socialism”.

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