Sunday, 7 February 2010

Tories To Centralise Powers

The Tories have made much of their localism agenda. I have said before on this blog that they are paying lip service to it, and have no real idea of what localism means, as they have an inbuilt desire to wield power rather than share it. Once again they have shown this is exactly what they are about. The Government passed a disgraceful bill last year to centralise decision making around large planning applications, for example Heathrow Runway Three, and cut local councils and local people out of the loop as much as possible. The Lib Dems were horrified at this, and opposed the move. The Tories are now going to do the same with school planning applications. Far from passing power to local people, they are grabbing it back to Westminster, just as they always do. These crucial decisions should be taken at a local level, not in Whitehall. We have seen how regional planning has misunderstood local needs and issues, like the recent south east plan, which was dreadful. Central Government is even more remote for this type of issue, and will doubtless get many decisions wrong. But the Tories are once again mouthing the words of one song whilst singing another behind closed doors. You can't trust them on planning - just look at Spelthorne!

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