Councils provide 'better services': Howard denies emasculation of authorities
When challenged on the Walden programme on ITV, Mr Howard insisted that voters had benefited since the Conservatives came to power in 1979, because services were now more effective, and of higher standards.
Interviewed by Brian Walden, the Secretary of State dismissed claims that councils had been 'stripped' of meaningful functions, and now had little freedom to make decisions involving significant amounts of money.
He also denied that in such areas as education, health and transport, central government had taken away from local government important powers that were once decided locally.
Mr Howard said the opposite was true: 'We have given local authorities new responsibilities. We have removed the huge numbers of controls over the ways in which local authorities discharge their responsibilities. One of the first things we did was to remove some 300 detailed restrictions.'
When the Tories first took power in 1979 there had been 873 government circulars detailing how councils should act. This had been reduced to under 600.
Nevertheless, he said, it was for Parliament to decide how and whether boundaries should be changed to enable local services to be best met.
He cited the Care in the Community initiative as an example of giving local authorities new powers to act, with pounds 575m new money this year, ring-fenced, to provide a better service.
- 1 Kylie Jenner challenge: Bizarre lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 5 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Electronic waste worth £34bn piling up in 'toxic mine', warns UN report
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...