First, voters will no longer have a direct input into policing, the fire service, strategic planning, probably education, and all cross- boundary issues. Is this a price worth paying for questionable assertions about accountability and lack of confusion over the crumbs that are left? How can there be less confusion when the lost tier will be replaced by joint committees, joint boards, 'working arrangements', quangos, buying-in of services, etc?
Second, dual responsibility under the present structure, whatever its faults, has an important benefit for local citizens. It provides the checks and balances that are an essential feature of any robust system of democratic government. A voter who objects to a decision of one tier can seek redress by appealing to the other. It is my experience that the clash which this frequently engenders almost always improves the outcome because it forces the issue to be debated properly. This is particularly important where majority rule allows decisions to be taken in back rooms without genuine open debate.
This is surely worth a little
The writer is leader of the Liberal Democrats on Leicestershire County Council.Reuse content