The secretary of state is mainly confirming proposals made earlier this year. He had a positive response then from the WLGA which has been working closely with the Welsh Office to implement new arrangements for the Strategic Development Scheme, European funding and local housing strategies. The WLGA recognises that in each of these cases there has been a move in the right direction towards greater local control of the policies that affect local communities.
WLGA leader Harry Jones said: 'We must now challenge the secretary of state to enlarge the agenda and face up to the difficulties facing local authorities at the core of their business.
'Fundamentally, he must recognise that no redefinition of the role of local authorities can be successful so long as the current stranglehold on local government finance remains in place. Despite documents such as that published yesterday, Welsh local government is on the verge of crisis simply because the secretary of state is using his centralised control over every aspect of local government finance to prevent essential services being available to those who need them.