Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80-84)|
MONDAY 8 JULY 2002
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,
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.
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
(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
Chairman: On that note, can I thank you very
much indeed for your evidence.