Headlines: May 19th, 2010

The local Government Association has welcomed the Government’s Big Society programme and said councillors were already practising the kind of politics that moved them closer to the people they served. The LGA chairman, Dame Margaret Eaton, was speaking after David Cameron said he wanted his vision of a big society of community work and social enterprise to be one of his Government’s legacies.

Mr. Cameron said it was a big signal that the first published part of the Government’s proposals for civil society was about decentralising power, and about empowering communities. Mr. Cameron, joined by Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, was addressing community leaders invited to Downing Street from across the country. He wanted a shift away from politicians sitting around the table and telling people what to do. He was, he said, determined to help social enterprises and community-minded groups and individuals to do what they could.

Dame Margaret said the LGA had already proposed a general power of competence to give councils greater freedom to save money and deliver services people wanted. “It is good news that the new Government has listened. This will deliver better results for communities, and citizens will truly believe their vote matters, helping to create a more vibrant local democracy,” she said.

Locally elected councillors were already practising the ‘new politics’ that was closer to voters and the people they served, she said and added: “We believe a radical devolution of power to local authorities will deliver big savings to the taxpayer and help make vital services even more responsive to people’s needs.”