The Council’s Devolution Proposals put forward are little more than a political sham.
Kirklees Conservatives made clear our commitment to, and proposals for, proper devolution in our manifesto last year. These commitments remain in place. We support proper devolution whereby local areas and districts are trusted with proper service budgets in their areas, and are able to make real policy decisions about the services provided. Real devolution is about the Centre (Cabinet and Officers) giving up budgets and the powers as to how those budgets are spent.
Labours proposals are simply centralized devolution where districts can only make decisions that have been approved by the Council’s Labour Leader first. This is similar to the old relationship the communist states of Eastern Europe had with their masters in the Kremlin during the Cold War.
The Labour Administration is proposing giving powers to determine budgets – but only after they have set the policy in order that they can continue to control everything. Devolution should be about ceding powers to local entities, including budgets and policy control. All that is being offered is the devolution of influence, so nothing has changed – there is no point or requirement to set up District Committees if this is the best that the Labour Administration can offer. The truth is that Labour can’t let go of their centralist principles, and their Leader David Sheard is giving nothing to local communities. The whole process is a complete sham.
Coun Robert Light (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw)
Conservative Leader, Kirklees Council