Posted by: John | March 13, 2009

Sustainable Communities Act – any shortcomings?

Now don’t get me wrong I’m all in favour of Local Councils persuading Central Government to do things differently (targets for Central Government and perhaps star ratings perhaps? snigger) and if Julia Goldsworthy’s been involved I know it’s reached the limits that the Democratic Centralist Labour Government allows.

My problem is whether or not it can actually change anything? Take for example the actual examples given. I’m referring to the one about jobs. What for example would happen if someone suggested that a whole Council’s vacancies should be taken up by locals only to mitigate high unemployment? This is partially happening in Manchester. What rights do other people in neighbouring boroughs have?

I see this act as a useful sticking plaster. The REAL issues are three fold:

1. The hubristic world of ever-increasing growth has been torn to shreds – thus it could be a way of protectionism by one area against another

2. It doesn’t really tackle our ailing democracy – we still have Central Government handing down targets and badgering Local Councils yet the Localities can’t do the same to the Government. For this to happen Central and Local Government should have discrete roles that are non-negotiable with the step-change in % funding to match.

3. As in the case of the fact that anyone outside Manchester City Council area unable to apply for entry-level jobs – this is only challengeable by certain groups in the courts. What’s really required is DEVOLUTION that creates a far wider geographical spread of financial power.

As for sustainability is it really sustainable to have the financial, administrative and cultural centres in one conurbation? I know the BBC are moving out yet you could see the vested interests working when staff asked and are getting the higher payments for their housing EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE GOING TO A LOWER HOUSE VALUE AREA! The BBC should have told them no – THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT – to balance out the wealth disparities between the regions – as one fellah put it `to spread the wealth`.

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