F8 Power for People and Communities (Local Government and
Community Empowerment Policy Paper)
Federal Policy Committee
Mover: Wera Hobhouse MP (Spokesperson on Communities and Local
Summation: Cllr Tim Pickstone (Chair of the Policy Working Group).
Conference notes that in the preamble to the constitution we commit
to enabling all citizens to "contribute fully to their communities and
to take part in the decisions which affect their lives".
Conference believes that:
A. Community is the arena in which individuals are able to cooperate with others to achieve their personal and shared goals.
B. Democratically elected local government is the key public
institution which enables local communities to work effectively
C. Voluntary community action is also essential to creating a vibrant
civic culture, both to express local communities based on place
and non-geographic communities of interest.
Conference regrets, however, that in England government is highly
centralised, with central government having far more power relative
to lower tiers of government than in almost any comparable
democracy, and its attempts to micromanage local decisions and
delivery of local services frequently lead to ineffectiveness, waste and
a feeling of alienation and disempowerment.
Conference further regrets the inadequate progress towards a
devolved tier of democratic government within England, with serious
consequences for the uneven economic and social development of
the regions of England.
Conference resolves that a Liberal Democrat vision for the
empowerment of people and communities in England should be
based on the principles of:
i) Decisions being made at the lowest practicable level.
Saturday 15 September