Does Mr Prescott want local authorities with powers, responsibilities and accountability for their actions; or does he want to be able to intervene whenever he or his officials disagree? Does he want a system of local government or a local agency for his Department?
Regrettably, the overwhelming bulk of legislation in the last 20 years has given successive ministers wide-ranging, subjective powers to intervene and overrule. The number of directly accountable authorities has been overwhelmed by indirectly accountable quangos and other agencies.
The Government is in a unique position to offer a vision of a new constitution for this country and of a genuinely new relationship between central and local government. Is it up to the task?
West Sussex County Council, Chichester