Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80-84)



  80. Are we saying that the Local Government Association has not discussed these issues during the course of the years you have been in existence? Do you not see this as an ideal opportunity to try and get correct and reasonable and equitable remuneration for yourselves and your members you represent?
  (Mr Kinghan) If I may say so, there are lots of things we would like to have in Local Government legislation.

  81. I am concerned about this particular one. I am concerned about these Cinderellas.
  (Cllr Bruce-Lockhart) There were a number of changes on councillors' allowances which were put forward in the Local Government Act 2000 and the Local Government Association felt that was a step in the right direction. I think we were happy about that and since then, you are correct, we have not put forward any further views.

  82. So you are happy with the system as it stands at the present time?
  (Cllr Bruce-Lockhart) I think that would be reading too much into it because the Bill was not directly about that. Yes, what I am saying is—

  Mr Cummings: We are talking about the Bill now and the opportunity after 30 years to try and correct anomalies that we all talk about year in and year out. No-one seems to have grasped the nettle by putting something positive forward to simplify and give a degree of equity in the whole system.

  Chairman: I think you have got your answer, John.

  Mr Cummings: I did not get an answer at all.

  Chairman: I thought that was the answer.

  Mr Cummings: I would like something substantive to come from the Local Government Association. I am told that it is the be all and end all.


  83. You have got an answer which is that they have got no view to express.
  (Cllr Bruce-Lockhart) Sorry, Chairman, I said that the issue had been dealt with in the Local Government Act 2000, that the LGA felt that was a move in the right direction and had not come back to that issue.
  (Mr Kinghan) I think you can rightly take it that we do not regard further legislation in that area as being one of our top priorities, I think that is absolutely legitimate, and that some of the things which are in the Bill we regard as being of a significantly higher priority.

  Mr Cummings: Thank you.

Mrs Ellman

  84. In answer to some of the earlier questions you stated that the Local Government Association did not have a view because there were different views amongst different groups of your members. On reflection, do you think that forming one association for local government has weakened the voice of local government?
  (Cllr Bruce-Lockhart) No. It is a good question but I think not. I think the Local Government Association has, according to almost all councillors, been far more successful than anyone five years ago thought it would be. Five years ago the Association of County Councils, the Association of District Council and the Metropolitan Authorities spent a lot of time fighting each other and did not, I think, spend a great deal of time trying to present their views. I think it has been successful. There are some areas, such as the distribution of grant, where we get so many different views amongst the three original associations and amongst the country where the Local Government Association, rightly or wrongly, has taken the view that it will keep out of them. By and large I think it is right because there are plenty of other things to talk about.

  Chairman: On that note, can I thank you very much indeed for your evidence.

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