Broad Green candidate fears for the end of local government

VOTE 2014 logoA candidate in Croydon’s Town Hall elections says that unless urgent action is taken to reverse the policies of the ConDem government, we could soon see the “end of local government as we know it”. There’s a few people in Croydon who consider that that may not be an altogether bad thing.

Peter Latham, is standing for election in Broad Green ward on May 22 for the Communists. He describes the Conservative-led government’s policies as “emasculating” local authorities across the country by squeezing the funding paid by central government to the nation’s Town Halls for the running of local services.

“The current formula for local government funding is presenting councils with impossible choices about which services to support and which services to cut,” Dr Latham said.

“In some cases, major cities such as Liverpool are facing bankruptcy and being forced into a situation where they cannot even afford to pay for statutory social care services.

“The Localism Act 2011 is the key mechanism used by the ConDems to erode local government. It is doing anything but promote local democracy. It should really be called the ‘Centralism Act’.

“The Act’s provisions underpin a creeping centralisation of many policy areas previously under local authority control. It has removed powers from councils under the guise of enabling ‘Big Society’ charitable organisations to play a greater role at the local level. The real agenda is to shrink the state, slash public expenditure and accelerate outsourcing of public services.”

Broad Green ward at the centre of Croydon

Broad Green ward at the centre of Croydon

The Communist Party supports a range of measures to re-invigorate local government, including:

• Smaller councils and more councillors because England, Wales and Scotland now have fewer and larger “local” authorities than any other western advanced capitalist country except Ireland
• Repeal of the Localism Act, except the provisions giving councils the right to return to the committee system and all councillors the right to make policy again in England and Wales; those protecting private tenants’ deposits; and the “general power of competence” to expand their functions
• Abolition of US-style directly elected local authority mayors
• The ending of all forms of marketisation, privatisation and profiteering in central and local government.
• Direct provision by councils of locally administered services to revive and develop community participation, accountability and self-government in areas such as council housing and management of schools.
• Capping of councillors’ pay at the average annual full-time earnings in their locality.

Dr Latham said, “Town halls are the lifeblood of local democracy, empowering communities, providing a practical demonstration of direct democracy and offering accountability to constituents. Local government needs rescuing from this wretched government.

“The replacement of the traditional committee system with leaders and cabinets or US-style directly elected mayors has created a brigade of full-time career politicians, which has removed the working class from this layer of local democracy,” he said.

“More than one-third of local government services are now privatised. We need a radical reorganisation of the way local government is financed, based on the needs of each individual town and city; and genuine decentralisation from Whitehall.”

Dr Latham will be among the candidates in Broad Green speaking at hustings next Thursday, May 15. For more details, click here.

Inside Croydon’s recent coverage of the local elections:

 

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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