NALC and local government leaders demand devolution
National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has reiterated its demand for devolution to parish councils in a letter to the Times, calling upon "central Government and party leaders to recognise that local government should be the vehicle for devolution in England".
Chairman of the NALC, Cllr Ken Browse is a signatory to the letter which was sent by local government leaders on the eve of today's publication of the Smith Commission recommendations on devolution to Scotland.
In the letter to the Times – also sent to the leaders of the political parties – more than a dozen leaders and supporters of devolution to all types of English local government say:
What is good enough for Scotland...
We leaders and supporters of local government in England of all parties and types of local government congratulate Scotland on the measure of devolution they have worked for and that is now proposed by the Smith Commission. We call upon central Government and party leaders to recognise that local government should be the vehicle for devolution in England and to now negotiate with us using a similar non-party Commission to agree a comparable package of measures for local government in England which can appear in the Manifestos and be enacted after the General Election.
Sir Richard Lees, Leader Manchester City Council
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
Jim O'Neill, Author RSA Cities Report
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol
Cllr David Hodge, Chair County Councils Network
Graham Allen MP, Chair of Parliament's Political and Constitutional Reform Select
Cllr Dave Sparks, Chair of the Local Government Association
Cllr Ken Browse, Chairman of National Association of Local Councils
Cllr Marianne Overton, Leader LGA Independent Group
Cllr Neil Clarke, Chairman of the District Councils Network
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader LibDem Group LGA
Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council
Clive Betts, Chair of Parliaments Local Government Committee
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader Newcastle City Council
Cllr Albert Bore, Leader Birmingham City Council
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool
Cllr Jon Collins, Leader Nottingham City Council
Cllr Ruth Dombey, Vice-Chair London Councils
Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader Leeds City Council
Cllr Ken Browse said: "NALC's Manifesto calls for communities to be in control of their areas; devolution to local government, including parish councils, can help do just that.
"I am urging the Government to seize the opportunity and ensure the answer to the English question goes much wider than Westminster, with power being driven down into the hands of local people and their democratically elected representatives.
"Government should use our Future Local conference next week to set out a new settlement for England including devolving more power and decisions to communities through grassroots parish councils."