Headlines: October 19th, 2009

The Government should keep out of decisions about public spending in local areas according to more than 2,000 people who took part in a new survey. The results show that 65 per cent of people want local councillors to make decisions about any cuts in their areas.

The survey of 2053 conducted by ComRes for the Local Government Association, also reveals priorities for those services that should be protected from cuts. A third of people wanted no cuts in frontline hospital staff and almost as many saw the fire service, the police and care for the elderly as areas that should not be touched. Almost a quarter wanted no cuts in cash for rubbish collections with just over a fifth wanting safeguards for funding for child protection.

Councillor Margaret Eaton, the Chairman of the Local Government Association, said it was widely accepted that public spending would have to be cut in coming years but people were concerned that the standard of the services they use regularly remained high. She continued: “These figures are a vote of confidence in town halls. People trust their local councillors to make tough decisions about spending in their area more than they trust national politicians. As the democratically elected voice of local people, councils should be at the centre of deciding on spending in their area.”