Politicians in London do not always know what’s best for Shropshire. Decisions taken at the top of a vast bureaucratic machine fail to make use of local knowledge and experience to deliver policies which work better for local communities. The result is one-size-fits-all government that inevitably works in the interests of London and the South East, leaving places like Shropshire left behind.
Centralised government doesn’t work for Shropshire, and it doesn’t work for any other part of the UK either. Power and decision making should be organised according to the principle of subsidiarity, empowering communities and regions to take control of their own destiny.
Our key policies are:
- Our guiding principle is subsidiarity: that decisions should be made as close as is practicable to the people affected by them, and always with their involvement and consent.
- We call for devolution of powers in a range of policy areas which are important to the daily lives of people in Shropshire, but currently controlled by Westminster.
- As a first step we would seek to establish a ‘Shropshire Combined Authority’ to provide an institutional framework for greater and more productive cooperation between Shropshire’s two unitary councils and to begin the process of negotiating a package of devolved powers and resources from Westminster.
- Whilst we support the creation of a Combined Authority, it must not replace the existing unitary councils, neither should it centralise their powers except in accordance with the subsidiarity principle. The CA’s creation and any competency it receives, or exercises must be by the mutual and ongoing consent of both Councils.
- We will also support decentralisation within Shropshire, the empowerment of local parish and town councils to take a far more active role in the key decisions about communities, especially on planning, development and other uniquely local issues. Community empowerment will force unitary councils, central government and others to actually listen to what local people say, need and want for their communities, rather than just paying lip service to meet legal requirements for public consultations.
- We call for the creation of a local public service joint committee comprising the unitary authorities, local CCGs, all NHS trusts in Shropshire (including WMAS), West Mercia PCC, and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. The committee would facilitate joint planning and resource sharing for key local public services and based on Public Service Boards in Wales.
- Devolution and empowerment of communities must be matched with considerable improvements in transparency and accountability of councils and councillors at all levels.
- We support calls for electoral reform to ensure that voters in every ward and constituency in Shropshire have an equal and fair vote in both local and general elections.
- We will support and work with others towards broader constitutional and political reform of the United Kingdom, to decentralise government, strengthen transparency and accountability, and achieve a fairer distribution of power between communities.