Local Democracy needs addressing

Proposer:            Vicky Seddon

Seconder:          Jenny Cronin

Unlock Democracy recognises that there are serious  democratic deficits in how decision making that affects local communities take place

Unlock Democracy notes:

  • How highly centralised decision making is in our country
  • How “austerity” has been imposed particularly heavily on local authorities
  • How changes to the funding formula for local authorities implemented by the coalition government (but poorly reported) hit the most needy communities hardest, whilst increasing resources for the most prosperous areas
  • How the removal of powers from local to central is still happening, with local authorities (for example) given additional requirements to fulfil without any additional resource
  • How ad hoc “devolution” agreements with elected mayors have been imposed on local areas without the consent of their populations and hence lack democratic credibility as well as thorny issues where two tier authorities are involved
  • How first past the post voting in local elections is still delivering “one party states” with no elected opposition to hold councils  to account
  • How BREXIT processes and outcomes as conducted by the Government presently threaten to remove devolved powers and return them to central governance
  • How local democracy groups seek to engage with democratic deficit issues in their localities

This meeting recognises the multiplicity of demands on the resources of Unlock Democracy, and the requirement to prioritise its work. Within those resource constraints, however, recognising the current significance of the challenge to local democracy, it resolves to seek to provide frameworks to enable local groups to coordinate their efforts by: 

  • Looking for opportunities (including funding bids)  to explore local democracy issues
  • Establishing communication networks with local groups and activists 
  • Establishing a subcommittee of local activists, staffed by themselves, to coordinate and support the work of local groups, mainly digitally
  • Making space at Council and AGM for local democracy issues, in appropriate formats