By Hazel Blears
The Tories launched their long-awaited ‘Localism’ green paper today. As Jeremy Beecham commented , “I would have thought the year’s delay on this report was to make it more substantial. Apparently not.”
In fact, the Green paper is a damp squib offering little new by way of policy ideas.
This green paper does nothing to advance the increased flexibility Labour has given to local councils – instead it is designed to conceal plans to scrap local support for hundreds of thousands of businesses, and cut cash for councils that would mean an extra one per cent on council tax.
By abolishing Regional Development Agencies, the Tories would remove the tailored and local support upon which hundreds of thousands of businesses depend. And there is a huge gulf between their rhetoric of decentralisation and the reality. Much of what they propose, such as people in cities being able to choose to have a mayor, are policies already introduced by this Labour Government
Here is a full briefing that explains exactly what is so disapppointing about the Tories’ proposals.