Local government structure ‘massively muddled’ and wasting money in Cambs
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Local government in Cambridgeshire is “massively muddled” and costs about 20 million more than the area needs, the county’s directly elected mayor has said.
He said local government in Cambridgeshire needs someone to “set the vision and the hermes comb replica
ambition for the area” as well as to “take the flack”.
He said: “If the old way of working was working, you wouldn have needed mayors in the first place”.
The government created the city deal now known as the Greater Cambridge Partnership in 2013. It is worth around 500 million, with payments subject to progress reviews.
The two organisations have publicly clashed this year over opposing views regarding public transport investment in Cambridge, with the mayor arguing at least one of the GCP’s proposed new busways is inconsistent with his plans for the metro.
Read MoreHe said: “The toughest job I have had is trying to form any kind of relationship with the Greater Cambridge Partnership.
He said: “It just seems to me to be a massive waste of money and resources to have two organisations working in the same area”.
He said: “Every time I have challenged that structure I have had massive kickback from civil servants”.
“That’s a lot of government for one county, and ultimately people will say there is so much waste in the system well there is. I have not doubt about that. We are a county that pays around 5 billion net into the treasury, and yet we have got, in my view, probably about 20 million worth of government more than we need, and that is frustrating for me, and I think more that anything it’s frustrating for the general public”.
He said if he didn’t work in the system he would have “absolutely no idea who to go to” for issues in the area.
Then minister of state, Simon Clarke MP, said the government has no plans to abolish the greater Cambridge city deal.
He also said that change could be brought about with the support of the county’s other political leaders.
He said: “If the local area wants to propose changes to governance arrangements, they should bring forward proposals, agreed by all the signatories, and my officials could consult with the relevant departments to consider government’s response”.