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Tories obstructing democracy over move to challenge services

November 30, 2012 9:40 AM

Cambridgeshire Tories have been accused of obstructing local democracy over a move to allow communities to run council services.

Members of Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet decided that the running of services can only be challenged every four years despite the fact that other local authorities across the county welcome challenges every 12 months.

The Lib Dem policy, the Community Right to Challenge, is set out in the Localism Act and it was anticipated by government that creative authorities would "welcome innovative ideas from communities about how services can be reformed and improved".

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Michael Williamson, who represents Waterbeach said: "This flies in the face of the spirit of the Localism Act which aims to give communities a greater say in the services that affect them and a greater involvement.

"The Tories implementation of this policy obstructs localism and local democracy."

The decision comes after the Tories rejected a Lib Dem move to make elected councillors more accountable to the public by dropping the number of signatures required on a petition to trigger a full council debate from 15,000 to just 3,000.

"Cambridgeshire Tories seem to go out of their way to make it as difficult as possible for the residents who elected them to have their say," added Cllr Williamson.