Letter: What we can learn from Doncaster

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leader ("Doncaster - a case for stronger councils", 18 February) rightly states that "whichever party or parties take power at the election, they confront a common task: the re-establishment of government in popular affection."

Labour's agenda for local government involves a combination of democratic reforms, new duties and responsibilities and strengthened audit powers, to ensure quality services and good value.

The Government's approach, in contrast, has been to dictate to local authorities, telling them what to do and how to do it. This is an attack on the very strength of local government - its ability to reflect the diversity of each locality.

Under a Labour government there will be a new relationship between local and national government, one based on respect and partnership rather than, as at present, dictatorial rule.

HILARY ARMSTRONG MP

Shadow Local Government Minister

House of Commons

London SW1

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