At NLGN’s Annual Conference Labour’s policy chief Jon Cruddas MP spoke of the challenges ahead for local government, and the sense of transformation Labour hope to instil as it seeks to devolve power from national government to and through local government.
In a speech to the New Local Government Network’s annual conference, Mr Cruddas said: “In our global world it is the local that will be agent of political change, the placed of belonging, the source of identity.”
He outlined 5 key organising principles that will inform the Labour Policy reviews and will run throughout a future Labour Government: transformation, prevention, devolution, collaboration and cooperation and citizenship and contribution.
Mr Cruddas said that between now and July there will be several key reports coming out which will show that Labour “really mean it” on devolution. The report of the Local Government Innovation Task Force, the Adonis review on growth, the IPPR report into the Condition of Britain and Sir John Oldham’s report into Whole Person Care.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP spoke in the afternoon. Speaking of the next Liberal Democrat manifesto, Mr Alexander said:
“It’s fair to say that for the first 2-3 years of the next Parliament we will have more fiscal constraints. As a Liberal Democrat Minister, I believe there are ways we can deepen engagement on services and on growth. We should be asking can we give local government greater freedom and flexibility. I want the Lib Dems to have radical answers to this in our manifesto.”
Simon Parker, Director of NLGN said:
“Whoever is elected in 2015 will have to oversee the greatest transformation in local government, or it will oversee the collapse of local government. It is that simple. We cannot disagree with the principle behind the thinking we have heard today. But what we need now are concrete plans for devolving power and budgets in the first hundred days of a the next government.”