Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting KNEWS to 80360, or email
New law to devolve powers ‘a gimmick’
A district councillor says Keighley Town Council’s attempt to run more public services is ignoring the complex bureaucracy involved in transferring powers from Bradford.
Councillor Khadim Hussain also described new laws to devolve powers to lower levels of government as “a gimmick”.
He was challenged by town councillors at their monthly meeting, who said the Government’s Localism Act entitled them to take on the running of more services if they showed they could do a better job.
Coun Hussain was one of two district councillors at the meeting. He was accompanied by Coun Keith Dredge. Responding to a question from town councillor Brian Morris, Coun Hussain said the debate should be less about who delivers services and more about whether the provision was delivered effectively to the people of Keighley.
Coun Judith Brooksbank said the Localism Act legislation was about devolving powers from principal authorities to parish and town councils.
But Coun Hussain replied: “It’s not that simple. If you think it’s that simple you must be living on a different planet. It [the Act] is very bureaucratic and confusing. To me, the Localism Act is nothing more than a gimmick.”
Coun Peter Corkindale said: “What you’ve just said is absolute nonsense. What Councillor Brooksbank is talking about is a piece of legislation called ‘The Right to Challenge’.
“It says quite clearly that a parish council is a ‘relevant body’ and that if we want to run the wheelie bins, we can put in a bid for that. Yes I know there’s still a lot that needs to be ironed out, but don’t try and blind us with science.”
Coun Tony Wright said: “This is an area which the town council feels passionately about. We wouldn’t take over a service if we were going to offer that service at a detriment.”
Later in the meeting, after both district councillors had left, Coun Wright said he felt the town council should continue trying to take on the management of Bradford Council car parks within Keighley parish.
Town clerk Miggy Bailey read out a letter from the Yorkshire Local Councils Association which expressed “disappointment” at the Bradford chief executive’s answer to Keighley’s request for more powers.
Tony Reeves had previously written that he did not believe the direct devolution of powers from Bradford to town and parish councils was a sensible way forward.