Sunday, 21 May 2017

Labour Party manifesto on local government and democracy

From the Labour Party manifesto for the 2017 General Election two sections which matter to me:

Local communities

Councils deliver vital local services to our communities, but their budgets have been slashed by Conservative cuts. This has led to a deterioration of local services, from bin collection to road repair, and the loss of important community assets such as libraries, youth centres and women’s refuges.

Labour believes in devolving power to local communities but that requires the necessary funding follows. You cannot empower local government if you impoverish it.

A Labour government will give local government extra funding next year. We will initiate a review into reforming council tax and business rates and consider new options such as a land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term.

Labour is the party of devolution and we believe in handing back power to communities. We will devolve powers over economic development, complete with the necessary funding.

Extending Democracy

A Labour government will establish a Constitutional Convention to examine and advise on reforming of the way Britain works at a fundamental level.

We will consult on its form and terms of reference and invite recommendations on extending democracy.

This is about where power and sovereignty lies – in politics, the economy, the justice system, and in our communities.

The Convention will look at extending democracy locally, regionally and nationally, considering the option of a more federalised country.

Our fundamental belief is that the Second Chamber should be democratically elected. In the interim period, we will seek to end the hereditary principle and reduce the size of the current House of Lords as part of a wider package of constitutional reform to address the growing democratic deficit across Britain.

We will extend the Freedom of Information Act to private companies that run public services.

We will reduce the voting age to 16. At 16, you are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army. You deserve a vote.

I hope a Labour government gives the job of chairing the proposed Constitutional Convention to Graham Allen. He has the credentials and commitment. I am assuming the Convention will be free to recommend extending the proportional voting system used in Scotland and Wales to England and the UK Parliament as well.

Graham Allen has argued the local government needs its 'a Magna Carta' to protect it from central government and I agree with him.

I am in no doubt that the quality of all our daily lives has been improved more by local councils than Westminster. The Labour Party has seen the aim of its structure as being to primarily elect MPs. I believe it should be to elect councillors and from this will come electing MPs.

Last week in two consecutive posts we received four 'Vote Labour' posters. We have yet to see a poster saying 'Vote Greg Marshall'. I rest my case. If Labour wants to win Broxtowe it has to do more to promote its greatest asset — a truly local candidate. 

1 comment:

  1. Good point about more power and resources to local governments. Over the last week we have had three missives from the Tory Party one of them a 'personal' letter from Mrs May but nothing from the local candidate,I've no idea who he or she is, not that I'd ever vote for them but it would be nice to know who they are. I was thinking that we'd never get anything from our MP but this morning we have at last had a leaflet and questionaire from Rob Flello. I've no idea if there are any other candidates standing from any other parties.