Council leader tells government: ‘We should also have powers conceded to Scotland’

Martin Tett, leader of Bucks County Council
Martin Tett, leader of Bucks County Council

Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett has signed an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne calling for more power to be given to local authorities.

The letter, published in The Observer newspaper and signed by the heads of 115 councils, warns that following a 40% reduction in government funding during the current parliament, efficiency savings are coming to an end.

The letter states that ‘further reductions without radical reform will have a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life and will lead to vital services being scaled back or lost altogether.

“Services such as libraries, leisure centres and road maintenance continue to buckle under the strain of cuts and the ever-rising cost of caring for our growing elderly population.

“Failure to address this will not only jeopardise other services, but will pass costs on to the NHS, which will have to pick up the pieces if we cannot protect adult social care or provide the services that keep people healthy.”

It goes on to says that following the Scottish referendum Scotland has been given more devolved powers and that it is ‘England’s turn now’.

Cllr Tett said: “I decided to sign the letter because I agreed with the sentiments expressed in it.

“With the cuts it has been really hard for us to fund expensive services such as protecting elderly people and vulnerable children and adults and also the road infrastructure.

“Scotland has more money and power over how it spends it than the South East, even though the population in this region is greater.

“The population is growing and we want to be able to meet the extra demand for services.

“We also want the government to trust us and give us more power to make decisions that will benefit the community.

“At the moment, they tell us how we spend it.

“I want to see more development of public transport for rural communities to prevent isolation and more funding for roads.

“If cuts have to be made, it would be good if we had more warning, so we can plan ahead how we will make the savings.”