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Local Government & Powers
#1
The Liberal Party advocates the establishment of Local Councils in every Town, Parish and Community throughout the UK. Each area without a Local Council would receive a Council and each Council would serve between 2,000 and 5,000 people.

So far, the state of local government throughout England has never been unfair and unequal. Whereas Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland each have a uniform model of local government, England [excluding Greater London] finds itself riddled with different models of Local Authority for different areas:-
  • Some areas are run by Unitary Authorities; some areas are run by a two-tier model of County and District Councils; some Counties have the two-tier model and Unitary Authorities thrown in for good measure.
  • There are also six Metropolitan Counties, each with a Unitary Authority and a Combined Authority to act as the upper tier that was abolished in 1986.
  • There are also two sui-generis authorities in England - the Isles of Scilly Council and the City of London Corporation
  • On top of that, roughly 80% of England is parished, which means that there are some areas remaining without a Local Council.
Within the Towns, Parishes and Communities that do have Local Councils, very essential powers that should be devolved to those Local Councils are kept in the hands of the Local Authorities, where, for example, a Councillor for one village could vote on a planning matter that affects another village.

Would it not be better to give each Local Council the General Power of Competence, to allow each Council to exercise responsibilities on behalf of the Local Authority and the individual, thus returning powers to the Parishes, Towns and Communities? In fact, would it not be a more Liberal policy to devolve all local government powers to the Local Councils, and each Local Council devolve a power to the Local Authority to exercise on their behalf? Responsibilities like planning, development, licensing, revenue collection, civic amenities, education and signage would be better exercised at Parish, Town or Community level. After all, Local Councils have always been, and remain, the first tier of local democracy.

Furthermore, the existence of Police & Crime Commissioners, Combined Authorities and Metro Mayors creates another level of bureaucracy and takes local powers away from local people. Either we adopt a Unitary model or retreat back to the two-tier model, each with the Committee system instead of the Leader & Cabinet system.
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