Hilary Benn, the Shadow Local Government Secretary, has said a Labour Government would give councils more freedom but austerity would continue.
The fact that Labour now seems very keen on the long-held Liberal policy of devolving power from Whitehall is often spoken off these days but the fascinating words here are that ‘austerity would continue’. A common sense remark of course but its not the message that Labour delivers locally, indeed if you believed Labour’s local utterances you would think that the election of a Labour government would end austerity and reverse all the cuts in public expenditure. Saying one thing nationally but quite another at a local level.
Labour must trust [its own] local leaders
A group Labour council leaders, including Cllr Lib Peck of Lambeth Council, Cllr Jim McMahon of Oldham Council and Cllr Sharon Taylor of Stevenage BC, have written in the Guardian recently that the Labour party needs to trust its local leaders. The leaders urge the Labour party to share power and work with them to deliver the future that communities want.
This is very much linked to the potential devolution of power from Westminster. The problem is that Labour does not trust its own local leaders and has not done for many years.