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The age of centralisation is over, declares Cameron

By Tim Montgomerie

6a00d83451b31c69e20120a7eb115e970b-800wiIn an article for this morning's Observer, the Prime Minister states that "the age of centralisation stops here." He offers three key reasons why centralisation needs to be reversed:

  1. "There's the efficiency argument – that in huge hierarchies, money gets spent on bureaucracy instead of the frontline."
  2. "There is the fairness argument – that centralised national blueprints don't allow for local solutions to major social problems."
  3. "And there is the political argument – that centralisation creates a great distance in our democracy between the government and the governed."

Mr Cameron then lists key components of the Coalition's decentralisation agenda:

  • "More power to neighbourhoods. Neighbours will be able to shape the look and feel of local housing developments, take over the running of local parks and post offices, and generate their own energy."
  • "We will give more power to local government [by] ending excessive ring-fencing of local budgets and giving councils new powers to set up banks and own assets... In terms of revenue, we are allowing councils to keep money when they attract business to their area or build new homes."
  • "In welfare, drug rehabilitation and the reduction of reoffending, we are opening up the system to new providers, letting them get on with the job and paying them by the results they achieve. No interference from on high – just real power for professionals."
  • "For too long those in power made decisions behind closed doors, released information behind a veil of jargon and denied people the power to hold them to account. This coalition is driving a wrecking ball through that culture – and it's called transparency... From next month we will be launching our new Transparency Framework online to replace the previous system of top-down targets and control. It will contain an unprecedented amount of information about what each department is doing – the reforms they plan and the impact they're making."


PS I'm very glad to see the PM name check Douglas Carswell MP in the article. Carswell and Dan Hannan deserve enormous credit for their Direct Democracy agenda. It put devolving power on the map and is an agenda that Liberal Democrats instinctively share.


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