Labour pledges local 'mutualised' services

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Indy Politics

plans to allow people to take over and run key local services are to be unveiled in Labour's election manifesto in an attempt to win back the trust of voters, ministers will announce today.

Proposals are to be included in the document that will see communities offered the chance to have a greater say in their housing, health facilities and children's services as part of a drive intended to "hand power back to the people".

Parents and staff will be given the opportunity to run their own Sure Start children's centres as part of a revolution in "mutual" organisations. Labour will also pledge to make it easier for housing tenants take over the management of their properties, gardens and shared facilities. They will be able to use any spending surpluses for their own chosen projects.

Measures designed to encourage NHS staff to take over and run health care in their areas will also be extended. Communities are set to be given a share in running organisations such as primary care trusts or handed a seat on their boards. The plans should be ready by the summer. Tessa Jowell, the Cabinet Office minister, said the next parliament could be the "moment for mutualism".

"In the wake of the global financial crisis and the parliamentary expenses scandal, it is clear that people are no longer prepared to trust large organisations over which they have no control," she said. "Our response means a new approach and a new relationship between the institutions of government and the people that they serve."