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Richard Sykes resignation

The health budget. It’s to David Cameron what Lennie was to George and what Private Pike was to his Mum. A budget to be protected, cosseted and shielded from harm. Of course, this has a cost. It means that every other unprotected budget must take more of the pain. There are, however, a couple of…

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Dave-jà vu

A young, Oxford-educated politician modernises his party, wins an election and promises the voters “a radical devolution of power”. That’s news, right? Not quite. Simon Jenkins points out that eleven years ago another young, Oxford-educated politician modernised his party, won an election and promised “a radical shift in the balance of power” from the state…

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Will Conservative MPs support a referendum on electoral reform?

Andy blogged last week about whether backbench Conservative MPs will vote to allow a referendum on the Alternative Vote system (AV) that, if passed, could cost nearly ten per cent of them their seats. Support from backbench Conservative MPs may now be less likely as polling shows that people would vote for AV if given…

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Government announces £6.2bn cuts, looks to local government for 20%

Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws have today announced measures to make £6.2 billion of savings in 2010-11. The package includes £1.165 bn of savings to be made in Local Government by reducing grants to Local Authorities.   This means that local government will have to contribute 20% of the cuts.…

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Local spending reports

The slow iteration of improvements in local spending reports continues. As part of the Sustainable Communities Act the government was required to provide a breakdown of all public spending in each local authority area. Now, three years on, we have an interactive website to play with. The problem still remains – where is all the local spending information? Local spending reports were…

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Electoral reform – will Conservative MPs vote for the referendum?

This is an interesting illustration from the Electoral Commission showing the likely effect of different voting systems on the General Election outcome. Not good news for the Conservative Party. The last minute concession to a referendum on AV was probably needed to seal the coalition deal, but will Conservative MPs defy the whip and refuse…

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Council tax and local government finance reform

The agreement struck by the partners in the new coalition government makes a bold commitment to promote devolution of power and financial autonomy to local government. This includes a ‘full review of local government finance’. The LGiU will make a full submission to this review. In the meantime I have an efficiency saving idea for…

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Nick Clegg speech on political reform

Localists will be encouraged by Nick Clegg’s first big speech as Deputy Prime Minister. It’s good to hear him bemoan the UK’s status as ”the most centralised country in Europe, bar Malta.” I’d have to raise an eyebrow at a couple of points, however. First, the proposed “mechanism to block pointless new criminal offences”. Isn’t…

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Lib Dem MP will oppose Conservative plans to reverse Norwich Unitary status

The media is looking closely for signs of strain in the new coalition government. There were some signs of tension over the weekend and today but overall things seem to be holding up pretty well. Local differences between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives over plans for Norwich City Council, however, could move up the…

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LGiU commentary on the new Conservative – Lib Dem government coalition agreement

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have published a statement outlining the agreement they have reached on a range of issues where they have previously advocated differing policies.   What does it mean for local government? The LGiU fully supports political and democratic reform where this will lead to a new settlement between government and the…

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