Set local councils free, says MP

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A REVOLUTIONARY campaign has been launched by Bulwell’s Labour MP Graham Allen in an attempt to win more power for local councils.

Mr Allen is pushing for a system of independent local government that would free councils from the control of Westminster and give them more control over the services they provide.

The MP chose to unveil his campaign in Hucknall under the Market Place statue of the poet Lord Byron, who famously fought against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence.

Mr Allen said: “Why should Nottingham, Ashfield or any council you elect be a slave of central government? No other Western democracy puts up with this.

“The current system means that whoever is in power centrally tells local government what to do, regardless of which party has been voted in locally.

“I think we need to be liberated and to use the creativity that exists in local government.”

Mr Allen, who is chairman of the Political And Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, is working on the campaign with the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents every council and councillor in the land.

A draft document setting out how local government can be separated from central government has been put out for consultation.

The campaign will culminate at the LGA conference in June when it is hoped the government will put it on to the political agenda for discussion in Parliament.

The launch in Hucknall attracted support from members of the Hucknall Labour Party and local residents.

“Whatever political party wins an election locally should be able to get on with the job,” added Mr Allen.

OUR PHOTO shows Mr Allen launching his campaign on Hucknall Market Place last Friday, flanked by supporters and local Labour councillors — DISPIC NHUD12-0319-1.