As Britain’s town hall services crumble the case for reform is overwhelming
news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 11:01
Local government has been steadily squeezed by austerity, inflation and centralisation. Greater devolution is needed.
In most of Britain’s towns there are buildings hinting of a more prosperous past. Vast stone public libraries, swimming baths, and theatres; all encircling the grand town halls that once controlled them. Many are long shut, converted, or owned by someone else. But the symbolism remains – local government used to do stuff.
Today, England’s councils are in the worst crisis since the foundation stones of these municipal palaces were laid. Birmingham, the largest local authority in Europe, is the tip of the iceberg in its effective bankruptcy . Woking, Thurrock, Croydon, Slough, and Northamptonshire have all gone bust. Dozens more are perilously close – from “red wall” Stoke-on-Trent , to the blue-blooded Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead .Continue reading...