The new chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group wants very real devolution.
Andrea Jenkyns MP was elected chair to the NALC backed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Local Democracy last month and on 15 October 2015 seized an opportunity to highlight the need for the Government’s devolution plans to include parish councils, neighbourhoods and communities in a debate on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill.
Ms Jenkyns MP said: “Speaking as chair of the local democracy group, I would like to see more emphasis placed on the work done by town and parish councils, and more of a role for them in devolution. The National Association of Local Councils has undertaken research showing the widespread frustration among existing councillors that they do not have the powers they need to effect real change in their areas.
“We have an historic opportunity with this Bill to empower local councillors, which I believe would have the by-product of encouraging more people to stand for local office and make that unique contribution to their areas. It would also give greater scope for elected Mayors to work with communities to achieve the results that work best for them.
“I would like to invite the Secretary of State to look into ways through which local, town and parish councillors could be included in the devolution settlement, and I would appreciate an opportunity to meet him to discuss that.
“Let me present an example of innovation in town councils that has made a real difference to my local area. In my constituency, Morley town council introduced free parking, which has been a major boost to the local high street. That is just one example of the innovative work that can be done locally. This sort of progress shows what towns can achieve through strong local leadership and innovation.”
For more information and other speeches on the Bill, please read here