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Devolution and local recovery White Paper

September 10, 2020 1:02 PM

mrrs (Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash)

Lib Dem council leaders have raised 'serious concerns' with local government secretary Robert Jenrick about this autumn's devolution and local recovery White Paper. A letter from the leaders to Mr Jenrick said it seemed 'extraordinary' that the Government thought it would be a 'good time to instigate a mass programme of local government restructuring'.

The letter read: 'Reorganisation is an extremely resource-intensive and unwelcome distraction at a time when we should be completely focused on responding to the recovery needs of our communities. 'Our partnership work throughout the COVID pandemic has shown how well councils and local partners are working together within existing structures.

'Therefore, we can see no sense at all in spending money on a top-down reorganisation that will take members and officers away from our crucial recovery work. 'The imposition of mayoral combined authorities risks an additional layer of bureaucracy that makes local government more remote from citizens.

'Lib Dem councillors - both leaders and those in senior positions in their authority - are opposed to any reorganisation that would result in accountability and decision-making being moved further away from local people, especially at this time of renewed appreciation and understanding of this importance of community.'

You can read the letter from over 30 Liberal Democrat Council Leaders opposing forced re-organisation.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said: "Local people will be amazed that the government are choosing this moment to force a top-down reorganisation on social care, schools and councils when instead they need to be focusing 100 per cent on helping us to recover from this crisis. The Tories are out of touch if they think this wasteful distraction is more important than getting our community back on its feet.'