"Power to the People," says Cameron. Then why do Government Bills take this power away?

Janet Downs's picture
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David Cameron wants to put power back into the hands of the people, he says. Then why does the Education Bill give unprecedented power to the Secretary of State for Education even to the extent of making it a legal requirement for teachers to teach in a particular way, or having the ability to close schools and make them reopen as academies even if local people don’t want it? Why did Lord Newton of Braintree, a Conservative Peer, say this about the Localism Bill and the powers it gives to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

“…as I read the provisions [of the Localism Bill] as a mere layman, what is being said here is that local authorities can do anything they like, subject to some broad qualifications, and the Secretary of State can allow them to do anything they like if he likes what they want to do; but if he does not like what they want to do, he can do whatever he likes to stop them”?

And when Mr Cameron talks about local charities, community groups and companies taking over the running of “health services, schools, parks and libraries”, does he really mean private companies? And what could be the consequence of this, especially in the light of the closure of Southern cross?
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