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Give councils more power: Trust in local government twice as high as in parliament

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Give councils more power: Trust in local government twice as high as in parliament

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government, Communities

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Trust in local authorities is almost twice that of central government with over a third of people believing regional councils should be given more powers, a new report has revealed.

Drawing upon evidence from the latest Future of England Survey, the study from think tank IPPR North shows that 39% of people living in England think that local authorities should have more powers, compared to just 14% who think they should have fewer.

It also shows that support for greater powers is particularly strong in the regions of the North East and North West of England and that a ‘Boris of the North’ is needed to provide strong leadership in the region and who can make the case for further powers and controls.

The report found that 80% of people feel most strongly attached to their local area, compared to 75% to England, 66% to Britain and 26% to Europe.

And 64% of those surveyed said they trust their local authority, compared to just 36% of people who have trust in parliament (Citizenship Survey).

The report also shows that councillors are more trusted than any other type of politician - 28% of people think councillors tell the truth always or most of the time, compared to 24% for MPs, 15% for government ministers and 14% for politicians generally (Standards for England).

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: “Local identities are important and, alongside the rise in Englishness, we are also witnessing an even stronger attachment to local places. We now more Essex than English, Brummie than British.

“People feel more able to influence decision-making locally than they do at the national level and so giving more powers to local areas would appear to be an important way in which people can reinvigorate local democracy.

“Local attachment is felt strongest outside of London and the South East and translates into calls for more powerful local institutions. The UK government has now offered new powers and institutions to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, where social and political identification have been strongest, but this should not be the end of the story.

"The Scottish referendum later in the year is already shining a light on the so called English question; central government should now listen and respond to the public appetite for more powers for the city-regions outside London.”

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