In spite of the Conservatives ‘levelling up’ there seems very little desire to reinvigorate local control.
Indeed this current government seems positively in fear of local control- as would appear to be indicated by their loose rhetoric to ‘do whatever it takes’ yet all local government finds it difficult to get their rightful allocation of funds – even if it is doled out always in £1.6bn tranches. One has to wonder whether any thought at all has gone into this – indeed the linked article draws attention not to 1.6 but to 42 because in the ‘Hitchikers Guide’ that was, after all, the answer to everything…
Furthermore, local testing and tracing for Covid-19 infections is, completely astonishingly, being carried out not by local authorities – who of course might well be asking for more money in order to do it – but by national private companies such as Serco and G4S. I feel sure they are not doing it for free. And what, I feel compelled to ask, do they know that local authorities do not? Indeed on past performance, are they even nationally – never mind locally – competent? Local authorities would in fact be negligent if they knew less than these private companies.
Moreover do these same private companies – hiring off the street – actually even have the skills – or, equally important in this difficult time, the commitment required? Have they, like local authorities, ever actually done it before? Do they know the local area? Is that their job? Or do they bid for whatever comes along and slice off a portion of guaranteed government created money as profit?
Not for the first time, I feel compelled to quote John Mckenroe in an earlier, simpler world:
“You cannot be serious…”
Who knew tennis could be so relevant…