Published:
September 26, 2014
Tessa: 'Reduce Whitehall's powers to boost local decision making'

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has this week called for more powers to be handed over from Whitehall in the wake of the Scottish independence vote.

In an interview with a national newspaper, Tessa Munt said she supports more decison-making at a local level.

"I’ve long believed that power should be handed over from Whitehall whenever and wherever possible and, as the newly-elected Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Local Democracy, this is something I shall campaign on with other MPs," she said.

"So, after the Scots voted to remain in the UK last week, I watched and listened with interest to the ensuing debate sparked about devolution to other parts of the UK."

"I strongly believe that decisions on local issues are best made at a local level. But first, we need a grown-up conversation about how this might be achieved. The first principle is that it's no good giving power and responsibility to communities without making sure this is matched with adequate resources - usually (but not always!) money."

"The second principle is about openness and transparency. No-one wielding power on behalf of others should be able to hide their actions, inactions or omissions, behind cloaks of secrecy."

"The third is accepting that sometimes, people make mistakes, especially when they try to do something new. And that's to be expected. What isn't acceptable is that when things go wrong, there's no humility, apology or evidence that lessons have been learned."

"When there's an understanding of what needs to be done, who is doing it and why, then we can learn again to trust and respect those who make decisions on our behalf. I’m still unpicking the details of what was promised to Scotland that persuaded her people to vote 'No thanks!'"

"But, as we face the reality of more devolution for the Scots, I shall be arguing for swift delivery of whatever it was that was offered, delivered with grace and without complaint or delay."

"We must be open and transparent about the deals which were done. We must trust the Scots to decide how they use their new powers. We can reflect on the wisdom of the details of the 'deal' at leisure, and we may learn lessons from this saga for our deliberations with other nations and communities."

"But it is crucial that we do what we said we would. Then we rebuild trust for our discussions about the future of our four nations in this United Kingdom."



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