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Leading Labour Ministers and council leaders publish new ideas on how the party can regain the policy initiative. As part of a series of cross-party pamphlets published by the NLGN, contributors including Hazel Blears MP and Andy Burnham MP offer thoughts on how Labour can win back support in local government.
The collection also features the thoughts and experiences of a number of leading Labour council leaders, looking at the policies and ideas that have helped to shape their communities.
In the collection, former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears offers an upbeat appraisal of her party’s position in local government, arguing that Labour has “the young councillors with passion and vision, the experienced hands with the commitment to lead their communities [and] a Labour Government committed to devolving power and supporting local councils and communities.
Leader of Lambeth council, Cllr Steve Reed urges a new approach to dealing with young people based on the pioneering work undertaken in his borough. He suggests that investment in youth services and giving young people better representation through innovations like Young Mayors can help to encouraged people away from gang activity and crime.
Writing on the future of regional governance, Leader of Barnsley Council, Cllr Stephen Houghton suggests that Labour should learn the lessons for the ‘no’ referendum for an elected regional assembly in the North East. He argues that the party needs to ensure that the narrative for regional governance “is not about extra cost, politics and bureaucracy but is about leadership, economic prosperity, efficiency and accountability.”
The elected mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe reflects upon the impact of regeneration schemes on his borough, which have led to increased employment and a reduction in crime. He also identifies the challenge of the 2012 Olympics, part of which will be held in Hackney, to ensure that it creates long-term economic regeneration for the area.
Finally, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham MP, discusses how the government is using sport to build community cohesion and activity. He outlines how the government is working with local authorities to get one million more people participating in 30 minutes of sport three times a week and give every young person in England the opportunity to participate in 5 hours of sport in school and in community sports clubs.
The essays are the first in a collection of pamphlets from the three main political parties, looking at policy innovation at a local level. Pamphlets from Conservative and Lib Dem thinkers will be published later in the summer.