Labour is ready to make a difference – by giving local people a real say in how their area is shaped

23rd June, 2013 12:07 pm

Never has the case for localism been so strong and so important to our services, politics and finances. To overcome the challenges this country faces we need an ambitious and long-term vision for how to reinvigorate local democracy, innovate to save money and improve the services people use. Yesterday, Ed Miliband laid the foundations for how Labour can build on our record in local government and make a real difference in people’s lives even in tough times.

Local Government has faced 33% of cuts since 2010, more than any other part of the public sector. Despite the Government’s scorched earth approach to local government, social security and public services, the reputation of Labour in Local Government continues to grow.

Through innovation, hard work and collaboration councils have been able to make these cuts and continue to deliver a multitude  of services that people value and rely on.  And for Labour Councils the mission has been clear: we must manage our finances and balance our books, but above all make sure that we are making a difference in people’s lives. So in the face of the cuts our councils are focussing on jobs, skills and growth, investing in housing and protecting the most vunerable . Through this work local government is providing a vision of how a future Labour Government can balance the books and deliver on our values. So I am delighted that Ed has set up a task force with Sharon Taylor, Richard Leese and Jules Pipe to examine in more detail what local government has done and what lessons a future Labour Government could work.

Local government can be the engine of a country-wide economic revival; one that is not dependent on a single area or industry, and today Ed set out clear plan about how we can do that with investment in house building, and giving us the powers to make sure that land is being used for the economic benefit of the whole.

There is much more Labour in local can do to help demonstrate what a future Labour Government can achieve, and we continue to work with Labour’s Shadow Ministers to develop our vision of Regional Economic Growth, Education, Health, Housing, Culture, Business, Social Security and much more.

At Jon Cruddas’ Statecraft lecture in June he promised that the policy process  “will push power downwards and build a new kind of state.” Ed’s speech today has started to draw up the blueprint of how we can do that. Giving local people a real say in how their area is shaped shows that Labour is ready to make a difference.

Cllr David Sparks is Leader of the Local Government Association Labour Group

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