You could win £100,000

ARE the Lib Dems fed up with the Town Hall headquarters in King’s Cross? I don’t mean the sale of the annexe building, although the saga of that disposal will no doubt resurface very soon, but their plans to devolve power away from Judd Street.

I’m hearing their manifesto for the upcoming council elections will try and pep up the idea of ‘area forums’. This is where decisions are made – not in the Town Hall – but on a ward by ward basis. Everybody goes to little neighbourhood meetings to decide how money will be carved up.

I asked my top Lib Dem source whether the idea was doomed from the off, that in many neighbourhoods nobody had been interested in meeting up to quibble over how to spend the £10,000 on offer at these sessions in the last three years.

‘Ah’, he said, ‘but what if you gave them some serious money, say £100,000? To decide themselves how to spend in the streets directly around their house. Take people seriously, give them some real power.’

It’s not such a bad idea, power to the people and… if you pay up, they will (probably) come. The money tree at the council must be suddenly maturing.

1 Comment on You could win £100,000

  1. Clr. Theo Blackwell (Lab) // February 25, 2010 at 9:09 pm //

    It’s easy to do if you devolve some of the budgets from parking fines to area forums (fora?), the rules on the use of parking revenues used to be tight but now cover a wide variety of environmental works – most of the stuff people want locally.

    We (Labour) suggested this in 2008, and I wrote about in Progress – as it seems fair that local communites have better guidance on the money raised by parking infringements on their streets. Just afterwards the council gave £10k to the local meetings to do this.

    There’s definately a case for participatory budgeting, something Hazel Blears was quite into at the CLG. However, I feel the Lib Dems never made their zeal for devolition – often stated at meetings – to be a ‘dealbreaker’ with their Tory coalition partners, who were dead against this sort of thing.

    Interesting, we’ll see…but (you saw it hear first) a proposal linking devolved budget with Parking revenues will be in our manifesto…

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