Local government has been sold down the river..

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…


  1. Kevin O'Connell -

    This is the second time you have the man’s name wrong – it is John McEnroe, not Mckenroe.

    1. Peter May -

      Fair enough – I did look it up, but clearly not in the right place!

  2. Bill Hughes -

    You have raised some criticial points regarding central goverment’s attitude to local government. They don’t give a damn and are continuing the slash and burn policy towards local councils that started with dear Margaret and has been intensified over the last 10 years. The complete disregard of the expertise and local knowledge of local council environmental health and health and safety officers is a disgrace. The government probably thought with the suspension of local elections this year it doesn’t matter and it was a good chance to line the pockets of their friends in the outsource companies, however ignorant and incompetent they are.

    1. Peter May -

      Central government seems to ignore that loacal government is important for democratic legitimacy. How can a ‘private provider’ offer that?

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