Local Council Elections 1994: Lib Dems claim lead in local democracy

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Indy Politics
A VOTE for the Liberal Democrats gives residents a greater chance of a say in the running of their neighbourhoods, the party claimed yesterday at the start of the second week of local elections campaigning.

Matthew Taylor, the party's campaigns chief, predicted that the 'revolutionary' approach would make it the only party to gain in areas it already ran.

Four Steps to Democracy, a paper issued yesterday, spotlights developments in the devolution of decisionmaking.

David Rendel, MP for Newbury and the party's local government spokesman, said: 'We are the only party prepared to take the step of giving devolved power back to other political parties.'

The document cites the example of Rochdale, where two of four township committees are controlled by Labour. The committees advise on the condition of council- owned buildings and decide on planning applications.

In the London Borough of Sutton, a residents' democracy scheme on one estate gives tenants responsibility for setting rent levels.

The best-known example is the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, where all decision-making and budgets have been devolved to neighbourhoods, two of which are presently Labour- controlled.