Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The best way to deliver “localism” is to take councils out of the equation altogether

Local government is dying:
Futures Forum: The assault on Local Government: The Strange Death of Municipal England:
Futures Forum: Local government finance: "It looks as though we’re approaching a cliff edge and no one has any idea how to stop us hurtling over it.”

And 'localism' died a long time ago:
Futures Forum: How democratic is local government in England?
Futures Forum: Localism and 'East Devon First'
Futures Forum: LOCALISM restated >>> "Power should be decentralised down to the lowest appropriate level - to councils, to community groups and to individual taxpayers"
Futures Forum: "Claims for 'localism' are a fiction from a Tom Sharpe novel" - Growing disquiet across the West Country

But maybe it doesn't matter - because local government is pretty useless anyway.

Businesses don't get much help from local government:
Futures Forum: Giving small businesses more opportunity >>> how local government can help
Futures Forum: Corporation tax, small towns and small businesses >>> giving SMEs the same 'level playing field' as multinationals

And local communities can't do much to determine their local business profile:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth: a town of charity shops and coffee shops?

But is it reasonable to ask communities to simply pick up the pieces?
Futures Forum: Communities filling the budget gaps in the Jurassic Coast
Futures Forum: Communities filling the budget gaps by filling the potholes...
Futures Forum: Communities filling the budget gaps by cutting the verges

As this sort of 'volunteerism' is not actually about giving more decision-making to communities:
Futures Forum: Volunteers in the community: 'doing jobs for free' or 'empowering communities to take local action'?

What would be needed would be real 'bottom-up' empowerment rather than hollowing out of institutions people have come to rely on:
Futures Forum: REconomy... and community-led economic development

Or as Simon Heffer put it in the Sunday Telegraph recently:

PressReader.com - Connecting People Through News

This is how East Devon Watch interpreted the same:


10 SEP 2017

Just before the last general election, Swire made one of his very rare appearances at what he called a “hustings” in Exmouth. Except no other parties were invited to participate and his one guest was Telegraph journalist Simon Heffer.

In today’s Sunday Telegraph Heffer calls for privatisation of everything that currently makes any semblance of profit, or which might make profits in future, and hiving off the loss-making tasks to unitary authorities or, in our case, the unelected, unaccountable and opaque business-run Local Enterprise Partnership.

Oh to be a fly on the wall when Swire and Heffer have their fireside chats …

He says:

“… There is too much local government. Pointy-headed theorists have banged on about localism, but all that is missing is evidence that “local” people are either capable or motivated enough to deliver “local” services. The best way to deliver “localism” is to take councils out of the equation altogether, as has been done in many cases by removing schools from their control. …

But local government will not work well until it is stripped of duties that individuals or the private sector can provide for themselves: which brings us back to social care … the government must … develop an insurance scheme that will encourage private providers to take over what threatens to become a crippling state responsibility …”

Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Comment, page 16

The Telegraph - Telegraph Online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph - Telegraph

Unfortunately Mr Heffer neglects to explain how private providers, with shareholders mouths to feed, will be able to do it more cheaply.

What Swire’s mate Heffer thinks of local authorities | East Devon Watch

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