Letters: London has too many answers

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The Independent Online
Sir: Discussion of London's government is producing widely diverging views. Some want a lean and mean executive body with limited "strategic" functions set above the boroughs. Some want an authority for south-east England. An elected mayor is mentioned - a governor even. Others want to scrap the boroughs and restore "local" councils.

Arguing for a fresh start, Andreas Whittam Smith ("Power to the People of London town", 15 July) sees movement for a better London making progress. But is the central issue one of international image, civic pride, powers, policies and practice, resources, or what? Apparently no one wants another GLC, but everyone wants an elected London authority - whose tasks seem to lengthen as the debate grows.

While integrating transport with land use is often seen as the key issue, it can be argued that London's dominant problems are its schools and its health service. In trying to improve London we have to start from the fact that most salient issues are inextricably matters as much for central government as for the boroughs. We have to recognise that London is a unique metropolis - and find a way forward that is not borrowed from somewhere else, but accents central-local co-operation. This would involve change in neither boundaries nor functions.


Purley, Surrey