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UK Politics

Independent Live: Conservative conference - Oliver Letwin talks to Steve Richards

In this exclusive podcast Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, talks to Steve Richards at the Conservative Party conference fringe in Birmingham and takes questions from the audience.

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Examining Letwin’s role in the formation of the coalition, the interview looks at the common ground between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Explaining how he helped create the program for government, Letwin outlines his position as coalition enforcer and describes relationships within the Cabinet, the Government and the Treasury.

Letwin goes on to describe the shift of power from central to local government and community ownership as a key theme of the coalition. Giving communities the power to decide how they want their neighbourhoods to look and feel is, he says, a Government priority.

The MP for West Dorset emphasizes how the Government is engaging in radical changes to the planning system. As well as discussing the hopes of professionals creating mutual ownership in the workforce in the public sector, Letwin criticises what he calls the “micromanagement” of the last government.

Steve finishes with Letwin’s thoughts on the budget deficit, the empowerment agenda and the external and internal appearances of the coalition before a question and answer session chaired by The Independent’s Mary Ann Sieghart. Topics from European Union and defence procurement to ecological localisation are put to Letwin, who manages to finish on the importance of goats as a form of foreign aid.

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