Tuesday, 28 April 2015

LGA chair says councils can save £100bn

The chair of the Local Government Association has said councils can deliver savings of £100 billion over five years.

In response to government spending cuts, the LGA has produced its own proposals for reform. Margaret Eaton said these will ‘deliver huge savings over five years’.

Outlining the offer to the government at an event yesterday, Ms Eaton said: ‘We need a fundamental reform of the way the public sector works: we want to cut out the middle men, cut out the duplication, the bureaucracy and empower local services to help local people.

‘We estimate our plans for reform will save up to £100 billion over five years and help save vital public services from very painful and damaging cuts.

‘We asked a wide range of councils if they were ready for this challenge, and we’ve had an overwhelming response, showing that councils are ambitious and they have ideas for doing things fundamentally differently.’

Lord Richard Best, the president of the LGA, said the drive for localism is ‘an historic moment in time’. He added: ‘Over the next few months it is possible that we can put in a different way of working in local government, and a different relationship between central and local government.’

Communities secretary Eric Pickles attended the event. He said: ‘It’s an extraordinarily generous offer. The LGA is right – we need to find a better way of doing business. Even if we hadn’t been at a time of cuts, the balance of power in this country is utterly wrong.

‘The last 30 years have taken control away from councils and local communities. Localism means pushing power out into local government and beyond into neighbourhoods and communities.

‘The LGA needs to make sure that the sector isn’t let down by a few clueless councils who won’t seize the changes.

‘You’ve said you can achieve better services for less money, and I want to put you in charge of that money as soon as possible so you can make rapid progress on this over the next few weeks.’

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