Monday, February 10, 2014

Leicestershire Tories back socialist policy

The argument that large institutions are more efficient sounds a pretty socialist one to me, so it is surprising to find that Leicestershire Conservatives are so keen on abolishing the county's district councils and leaving one unitary authority.

A post on their website welcoming a report from by consultants Ernst & Young tells us that having a unitary authority for Leicestershire would protect services, cut the council tax, be paid for within in a year.

It even tells us that having one authority would bring "engage and empower" local areas - at the same time as reducing the number of elected councillors from 316 to around 100.

The fact that reducing the number of councillors is seen as a good thing suggests that they are already too distant from their voters. The danger of reducing their number is that more of them will see being a local councillor as a full-time career, thus further distancing themselves yet further from their voters.

The career of the Conservatives' previous leader, David Parsons, stands as an awful warning of what can happen even under the existing system.

Still, you can read the consultants report on the county council website and judge for yourself.

In pursuing austerity the Coalition has tended to protect central government programmes while hitting local spending hard - there is money for HS2 while local bus services are cut.

The danger is that local government services - and here the very structure of local government - will be damaged so severely that they will be impossible to repair when the public finances are healthy again.

1 comment:

James said...

If the county council were elected under a proper electoral system, that would be one thing, but the scheme just sounds like management counsulant/jobs-for-the(Tory)-boys as it stands...