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SLGIU CHIEF SLAMS EXEC OVER STRICT BILL PROPOSALS

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Scottish Executive proposals for a local government bill face harsh criticism for not allowing councils enough free...
Scottish Executive proposals for a local government bill face harsh criticism for not allowing councils enough freedom.

A white paper is expected next month but the Scottish Local Government Information Unit said there are no extra powers for councils.

Referring to the bill's proposals to introduce best value, director of the unit Paolo Vestri said: 'The bill threatens to impose a new set of restrictions, strict accounting procedures and financial targets, which are just as severe as the old CCT regime.'

Mr Vestri said the bill further centralises control and hinders councils' ability to deliver services.

Proposals do not give councils the right to charge for discretionary services, a power given to local authorities in England.

Mr Vestri insisted the bill will fail councils in its current form.

He said: 'Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the consultation paper is it suggests the Scottish Executive remains to be convinced that the shackles under which local government currently operates should be removed.'

A spokesman for the Executive said:

'The fact of the matter is the bill is still out for consultation. There are no concrete proposals yet.'

Clackmannanshire Council leader Keith Brown (SNP) said the proposals could give councils greater freedoms.

He added: 'Community planning is starting to work in some areas already and it encourages outside bodies to work with local authorities.'

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