Sunday, May 20, 2012

Local Government white paper is a missed opportunity

Commenting on the launch of the Welsh government’s White Paper on Local Democracy, the Welsh Liberal Democrats Shadow Minister for Local Government and Communities Peter Black AM said,

“This represents a complete failure of the Labour party to acknowledge the real problems that face local democracy in Wales. In the local elections a few weeks ago, we saw too many uncontested elections and turn out that was far too low, yet one of the proposals the government has put forward to change the name of the body that draws up election boundaries. This is not the radical thinking that Welsh communities need.

“The Scottish experience was that a proportional electoral system using fair voting meant no more uncontested elections, a wider choice of candidates for voters and higher turnout. Any attempt to reform local democracy without making this essential change is, frankly, a waste of time.

“Likewise, without implementing elections to National parks or devolving many more powers to local authorities so that they can deliver for their areas, we will never breathe life back into our local democracies.

“I will be tabling amendments to the bill to ensure these matters are considered.”

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