Seven in 10 Brits want to take back control of their communities, research shows

Britons want to take back control of their towns and cities from Westminster and Whitehall.

New research found nearly seven in 10 voters (69 percent) want their community to have more control of how their council delivers services.

Three in five people say they would be more likely to vote in local elections if they believed their council could make more decisions that affect life in their area.

The Savanta polling was commissioned by the Effective Governance Forum which is calling for a “huge shift of power” from London to local communities.

It argues in a new report that local people can solve challenges on their doorstep more effectively than central government.

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The push for a transformation in how the country is governed has been welcomed by Andy Street, the former managing director of John Lewis who is now Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands.

He said: “The research is clear – people across Britain want decisions to be taken closer to the action. That means appropriate devolution to all levels – regional mayors, local councils, and communities.

“That’s exactly what we’re crafting here in the West Midlands, and I hope it makes our democracy more vibrant and improves outcomes for the local people I’m honoured to serve.”

The report calls for councils to run all major services, including policing, health, education, economic affairs and transport. It also makes the case for councils to have greater tax-raising powers to deliver services.

The authors claim that this will leave the UK Government free to concentrate on major national issues such as defence, border control, international trade, foreign affairs and fiscal policy. Britain, they say, is the “most centralised democratic large country in the world”.

Tim Knox, the co-author of the report, said that the “Westminster and Whitehall machine is unable to fix the problems of Wythenshawe, Widnes and Winchester”.

He added: “It is a centralised system that avariciously hogs power and impersonally imposes solutions on distant communities, blind to their real needs. Westminster must let the people who know best take control of their own destinies.”

Arguing that this would deliver true accountability, he said: “Local political parties will be able to offer manifestos for real change in their communities. They will then live or die by the delivery of their promises. It will be direct and transparent.”

Claiming that the Government’s efforts to “level-up” Britain’s less prosperous communities have failed, he said: “It’s time to give power back to the people so they, with their local representatives, can take control of their own futures.”

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