LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Crime is top priority for councils

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The Independent Online
Tackling crime is the most important service that councils can deliver, a survey of attitudes has found. Three-quarters of people questioned placed crime and law-and-order issues at the top of their list of priorities.

Fire services were also regarded as very important but, surprisingly, rubbish collection and street cleaning were placed above schools, which were rated the same as pavement maintenance.

The MORI poll, carried out on behalf of the Local Government Association, also disclosed that six out of 10 people would like their authorities to have more freedom to fix council tax at the level needed to provide good services. Twice as many people were satisfied with their local council as with Parliament, the figures suggest.

Street lighting was a priority for 49 per cent of the sample, while parks, open spaces and trees were important for half of those questioned.