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Yorkshire councils in a pickle?

Len Tingle | 19:31 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010

Erick Pickles, Secretary of State fro Communities and Local Government interviewed on the Politics Show for Yorkshire Lincolnshire and the North Midlands December 12th 2010

Former Bradford man Eric Pickles is now the Cabinet Minister responsible for Local Government.

In the 1980s Eric Pickles was the leader of Bradford Council. Today his successors in the city say he will be responsible for ruining it.

Mr Pickles is now the forthright cabinet minister responsible for Communities and Local Government. It is a role where he is putting forward some radical views.

On this Sunday's Politics Show the Yorkshireman, who moved to Brentwood in Essex to become a Conservative MP, puts forward radical solutions to local councils who are facing some of the biggest cuts in their budgets since the 1940s.

He says he wants to see chief executives take pay cuts, neighbouring authorities share managers and legal and planning officers to work for more than one council.

He accuses many local councils of being stuck in the past.

At Bradford Council leader Ian Greenwood takes on board these views with a wry smile.

He says reducing management costs and providing services through a new army of volunteers or charities is simply no substitute for the vital work being carried out by council workers.

It has to be said that Councillor Greenwood is the leader of the Labour group.

But down the road in Sheffield Liberal Democrats run the city council.

Here leader Paul Scrivens agrees that innovative initiatives have to taken. He also admits that thousands of protective redundancy notices have been issued to the council workforce.

Monday 13th December sees the final settlement announcement for the amount of central government grant which will be allocated to every council in the country.

It is a crucial decision.

Central Government grant accounts for as much as four times the amount local authorities raise through council taxes that they set and collect themselves.

The Government has already said it will be reduced by 27 per cent over the next four years.


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