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'Learn from the lessons of Wales', was the message given to English local authorities today at the LGA annual confe...
'Learn from the lessons of Wales', was the message given to English local authorities today at the LGA annual conference in Bournemouth. WLGA leader Harry Jones stressed the potential for local democracy and flexibility of a regional devolution in England, during the 'The Dragon after Devolution' debate, which included Welsh local government minister Edwina Hart and Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Lembit Opik.

Sir Harry said:

'It is a sign of the growing maturity of Welsh politics that we can now start to speak of a Welsh political system and clearly locate the role of respective bodies in shaping the new governance. The devolution dynamic moves at a pace which is astounding; however at the core of this remains a simple fact which is at the heart of the assembly - local government relationship namely a growing partnership.'

The event demonstrated to English colleagues how the proposed regional agenda in England could benefit local democracy and flexibility.

Sir Harry added:

'Devolution has resulted in a reassertion of politics and political decision making as the driving force in the governance of Wales. In particular, through our relationship as politicians in the statutory Partnership Council set in the government of Wales Act 1998, we are starting to deliver real results.'

Edwina Hart and Lembit Opik also spoke at the debate (see LGCnetfor her speech), which highlighted key examples of success resultant from Welsh devolution. Such successes include development of the Wales Programme for Improvement, as a locally managed and self directed approach to best value; end of hypothecation; a Welsh education agenda; and the launch of a Welsh health agenda, with clear local government representation on 22 local health boards.

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