Devolution bill for councils needed – assembly or not

Following news that Secretary of State James Brokenshire MP is set to develop a NI Budget, NILGA has called for immediate legislation to bring power and resources closer to local people and places through a new Devolution Bill.

NILGA President, Arnold Hatch, said: “NILGA wants a restored and effective Stormont as soon as possible. In the meantime the 11 councils need legislation, policies and resources to deliver services to local people whilst – in the Assembly’s absence - protecting local democracy and decision taking. We have asked directly for an All Party Group to be set up to co-design, between central and local government, a means to put better, effective, local governance in place and in so doing reconnect our public services to local people. Simply, local communities must see no democratic or public service deficit. We have clear proposals to determine how key public services and crucial investment in infrastructure throughout Northern Ireland can be delivered, through evidence based, local decision making.
Councils and their partner agencies continue to deliver and develop vital services and invest in our local places – they are now the hubs of local communities which need tailored public services, local economic investment, sustainable cities, towns and villages and long-term stability in regard to local democratic influence, on Brexit, housing, the economy and the environment to name just a few.”

Alderman Hatch concluded: Materially our political leaders in central government need to bring councils into a new system of governance. We can then bring Northern Ireland into the 21st Century, with a more sustainable, equitable, and effective (indeed normal) form of government – one which puts local people and local places first.
All these matters can be dealt with through one dynamic piece of legislation – a Devolution Bill for Northern Ireland - which puts the local back into government.”


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