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Council calls for better relationship with Number 10
ALL political parties have united at Worcester City Council to send the Government a powerful message over the authority’s dire predicament.
A motion has been backed by Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat and Green politicians which calls for a “fundamental change in relationship” between Whitehall and local authorities.
It calls for less interference from ministers in local decisions, more longer term guarantees on future funding, and a reversal of power so cities like Worcester can spend more cash the way councillors want.
It was unanimously accepted during a full council vote on Tuesday night, with politicians saying town halls had reached a tipping point.
Labour Councillor Paul Denham, the deputy Mayor of Worcester, said: “It really is a ‘we are all in it together crisis’ - we all face a financial black hole which needs sorting, and time is running out.
“The Government is asking councils to do more and more with less and less - this motion really matters and people should get behind it.”
The motion is part of a campaign by the Local Government Association called Rewiring Public Services amid concerns funding cuts are making services “democratically unsustainable”.
As well as better cash deals, it also focuses on matters which are not money related, like giving town halls more powers and taking influence away from Whitehall.
Councillor Lynn Denham said it was “not an attack on the current Government, but a plea”.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of the opposition Tory group, said: “There is a much bigger issue to this than just funding settlements - it’s about the whole nature of local and central Government relationships.”
Councillor Lucy Hodgson, a fellow Conservative, said: “It’s a black hole we are facing, and it will be that way for a number of years.
“We’ve got to work together to get the best services for residents, that’s certainly what I’m in politics for.”
The motion also calls on Worcester MP Robin Walker to join the campaign by lobbying for a better deal from the Government.
As your Worcester News revealed last week, Mr Walker has secured a parliamentary debate on funding settlements for councils.
The city council is looking to cut spending by around £3m by 2017/18 to balance the books, and is exploring the idea of handing services to outside providers.
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