The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a Structural Reform Plan (SRP) which its website states "marks a radical shift of power from Whitehall to local councils and communities that will make the Big Society part of every day life. The plan sets out a new 18 month programme for the department that will deliver radical decentralising and transparency reforms that put citizens and councils in control of their communities. It is one of the first fundamental Structural Reform Plans for making departments accountable for the implementation of the reforms set out in the Coalition agreement."
The Draft SRP - for that is what it is - is no more than a 'centrally imposed plan' to make local people believe they are getting power, with the timetable, again, centrally decided. The foreward (although not named as such) states that SRPs 'replace the old, top-down systems of targets and central micromanagement' and that 'people themselves will have the power to improve our country and our public services, through the mechanisms of local democratic accountability, competition, choice, and social action".
What we have here is the same old 'statist' policies, because who controls the money controls the outcome! As such the only real 'choice' local authorities and - and if they bother to ask their electorate - local voters will have is which 'services' to cut or abolish, due to cuts in government grants. By this 'ploy' of retaining central control of funding whilst providing local 'choice', when the complaints start being made about loss/lack of 'services' the government will be able to say: 'We gave you the choice, you decided - so don't come running to us' and at the same time omitting to mention that the money had not been provided, or had been cut, by central government.
It will also be interesting to see whether local authorities do actually put to their electorate the choice of whether they, the electorate, wish to retain the 'Cabinet' system of local government, or wish to revert to the old system of 'Committee' government. Even if they did put the question, one wonders how many of the electorate would know the difference..........?
So there we have it - yet another example that Cameron is indeed a 'leftie' statist-loving politician who did not 'level' with the electorate prior to and during the election. To my fellow electorate, who put their crosses against the Cameron and Clegg camps, I can but quote Galatians 6.7 and the accompanying proverb.