Letwin: Localism is here to stay
Oliver Letwin has outlined the government’s case for localism and liberalisation of council services, calling it a ‘change of direction for a nation’.
Cabinet office minister Mr Letwin, who chairs the Conservative Party’s policy review said: ‘If we are to end up with public services that perform properly we are going to have to find the means of allowing things to be done at a much more local level, and indeed within each locality we will have to find the means of allowing things to be done by a much wider range of diverse providers.’
Mr Letwin, speaking at an event in London yesterday, said moving towards more diverse models of service provision would be a permanent move, ‘rather than the agenda of two political parties that happen to be in government at present’.
He said: ‘I suspect that in 15 or 20 years from now we will find a Britain in which people can’t imagine how things used to be so centralised and dominated by one model of delivery.’
Mr Letwin also said the government is trying to create more of a direct link between councils and their taxpayers and providing them with incentives to improve service.
He cited the new homes bonus, under which the government provides funding matching the extra council tax from new homes for six years after they are built, and business rate retention, as examples of incentives the government has introduced.
He said: ‘We have tried to create a much more direct relationship through the new homes bonus which rewards those councils that foster more homes locally.’
Mr Letwin was speaking at the launch of a report by think tank Localis called Catalyst councils, which calls for councils to look at more service delivery options to promote economic growth and ‘maximise social value’.