AV | 14.10.2008 14:57
Pls consider contacting yr Local Councillor and ask them to get local authority to 'opt in' to Sustainable Communities Act. More info on this below, but basic point is: if you get council to opt in, you will have opportunity to work with the council to begin process of changing bureacratic/corporatist culture to get power away from imperial centre, both for your (very) local community (be that stopping ASDA or setting up your anarcho-commune) but also, for the local council. Both you and them are, after all subject to top-down diktat, so it's in your joint interest to work together on this, and see where you can take it. And if this all sounds too reformist for your taste, please consider forwarding it to any reformist friends or colleagues so we can all pull on the one rope for greater autonomy, in whatever way suits.
If you're not sure who's your Councillor go here and put in postcode to find out http://www.councillor.gov.uk/Homepage.asp?NodeID=89704&int1stParentNodeID=89704
Also, if you have a moment pls do forward this to others in your area, or to those elsewhere who may be interested in local democracy, & ask 'em to do the same.
Also it's probably worth emailing your MP and asking him or her to support idea (of local council opt-in to SCA).
Today the Sustainable Communities Act finally starts being implemented.
With the credit crunch now starting to bite, it couldn't have happened at a more crucial time.
Hazel Blears is to fire the starting gun for implementing the Sustainable Communities Act today by formally inviting councils to 'opt in' to the Sustainable Communities Act. As you may know, the Act enables councils working in co-operation with their communities to get Government help to assist them in reversing the decline of local services, dealing with fuel poverty, protecting the environment and obtaining greater involvement in civic activity. As part of the process they will also be able to formally request specific powers, currently held by national government, to be devolved to them. Government then has a legal duty to reach agreement with councils and the Local Government Association on how it will help them.
A Private Members' Bill introduced in the House of Commons by Nick Hurd MP, it came about after an unprecedented five year campaign supported by dozens of voluntary organisations, trade unions and other representative groups, parish and town councils and tens of thousands of individuals.
As part of the bottom-up philosophy behind the Act, councils are not forced to participate, but obviously it would be in their interests to do so! To encourage them, Unlock Democracy alongside 54 of the UK's leading voluntary and representative organisations (from the Association of Chief Police Officers to the Campaign for Real Ale), have written to the leaders and chief executives of every council in England urging them to seize this opportunity. Their letter will be unveiled today by Unlock Democracy Campaigns Director Ron Bailey at a special conference about the Act being held by the Local Government Association in Westminster today.
Unlock Democracy's Campaigns Director Ron Bailey said:
"The Sustainable Communities Act could not have come at a more crucial time. The global economic downturn will have a huge impact on our local communities. The government's own advisers predict that recession will lead to a rise in criminal activity. Local high streets are likely to be decimated as stores are forced to close.
"If local communities are to weather this storm, they will need far more autonomy than they currently have. Local people are the experts on the problems of their areas and the solutions to them. Yet currently they are at the complete mercy of the global stock exchange. The Sustainable Communities Act will give real power to local people to protect and revive their areas."
Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey added:
"The Sustainable Communities Act is a unique piece of legislation. It became law as a result of an unprecedented bottom up campaign and creates an unprecedented bottom up way of redressing the creeping centralisation of successive governments. People have never felt more alienated from those who make decisions that affect their daily lives. Councils must opt into the Act to begin the fight back."
TAKE ACTION - WRITE TO YOUR COUNCILLORS TODAY!
We need people to write to their councillors today to put pressure on them to opt-in to the act. Over on the Unlock Democracy website http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/?p=1433 you will find all the information you need, including information about the Act itself, reasons why councils should "opt-in" and a sample letter (although we encourage you to write to them in your own words as it will be more effective). It should only take you a few minutes to write to them and if enough people do it, they will make a huge different.
The Sustainable Communities Act came about because of a five year campaign built by ordinary people. As it happens, it could not have come at a more crucial time. If you want a say in how your local community should adapt to the changing economic circumstances caused by the global financial meltdown, make sure you write to your councillors today.
The Unlock Democracy Team