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Government plans to abolish council duties to consult

Monday, 17 March 2014 4 Comments by Claire

Some of you may have heard about the much trumpeted deregulation bill. Many of you might think that it’s a good thing.

I haven’t had a chance to read through the smallprint yet but remain sceptical that some of our rights will be eroded, as they seem to be in so many other ways.

It appears that I was right.

Leafing through this week’s edition of Local Government First - a fortnightly newsletter that gets distributed to councillors I was pretty horrified to read the following paragraph:

“The LGA (Local Government Association) has taken an interest in the (deregulation) bill as it includes proposals such as .......  ... “abolishing councils duties to consult, allowing them to make their own consultation decisions for their communities.”

What??

How many genuine public consultations have actually been carried out by EDDC where we didn’t feel the outcome had already been decided?  Not many.

And what about Devon County Council’s current consultations. There doesn’t seem to be any hope or will that anything, other than the proposal itself, will be the outcome.

And the LGA seems to think it’s all fine. A later paragraph in the article states:  “The LGA welcomes the government’s approach to reducing legislative burdens on public sector bodies as it links closely into our Rewiring Public Services campaign.”

That obviously needs a close examination, as well.

Our MPs need a sackful of letters and emails on this subject - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (East Devon) - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

What will the government do next to try and immobilise our right to object to anything at all?

Comments

1. At 01:01 pm on 18th Mar Deirdre Dee wrote:

More bad news about this government’s on going campaign to take away all our rights with the news of suggested new legislation allowing councils to decide on issues without consulting the people they supposedly represent

2. At 12:13 pm on 19th Mar Sandra Semple wrote:

Why not just go the whole hog and abolish voting?  We have seen that a large number of elected councillors do not represent our views after election and public consultation has been the only way of showing our true feelings about various things.  Without public consultation we are handing councillors too much power to do as they like - and we have all seen where that leads in East Devon.  But that, of course, is what they want.

3. At 10:17 pm on 19th Mar Val Jones wrote:

It seems that developers can have as much say as they like, as much sway as they like, but the people who live here, who work here, have no rights at all.  Or this appears to be the way we are heading.  Democracy is being eroded.  So many people have fought so hard over the years for the right to speak, to challenge when something appears wrong.  We can’t let that right go.  Councillors can’t represent the people if the people have no right to a voice.  A good decision can only be reached if everyone has a chance to comment.  Otherwise you will be swapping democracy for dictatorship.

4. At 10:01 am on 22th Mar D. Gruntled wrote:

It would be very difficult for the govt to abolish consulting. For a start there is the Arhuus Convention that the uk has signed up to that requires consultation on decision making then there are various European directives which also require it and then there are various primary statutes eg the main planning ones that would need altering.

All in all I would hope it’s an unlikely prospect. What worries me more is the LGA comments who have come out recently with various dubious things. Not long ago they said on the Today programme that the only thing that bothered them regarding payments from renewable providers to the public was how much. They did not seem at all concerned that planning might be influenced by bribes and now this !

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