Local communities need support, says MP

AN ESSEX MP has backed proposals to give local authorities more say in how money is spent by central government in their communities.Douglas Carswell, MP for Harwich, is hoping the move will give financial support to local communities in Tendring left like “deserts” after the closure of banks, pubs and retailers.

AN ESSEX MP has backed proposals to give local authorities more say in how money is spent by central government in their communities.

Douglas Carswell, MP for Harwich, is hoping the move will give financial support to local communities in Tendring left like “deserts” after the closure of banks, pubs and retailers.

He said: “Some of our local communities are dying - look at how local banks, pubs, corner shops, post offices and local services have been shut down in recent years.

“Walton lost its bank, Holland-on-Sea used to have many more shops and services, Clacton retailers are under real pressure and Harwich has been losing pubs.


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“Everywhere there are question marks over local post offices. This is creating deserts where local people no longer have easy access to shops and jobs.”

He said the reality of the situation was the problem it posed for elderly people who find it more difficult to travel further afield for their shopping and banking.

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Mr Carswell is one of a handful of MPs backing a new law, currently going through the committee stage of Parliament, which would address the issue.

He said: “Approximately £8billion of taxpayers' money is spent in Essex each year. £2billion is spent by local government, whereas £6billion is spent directly by central government organisations and 'quangos', such as the Environment Agency or the Learning and Skills Council.”

He said that, if passed, the new bill would give local authorities the right to receive a breakdown of spending by central government departments and agencies on services provided for benefit of local communities.

Local authorities would also have the right to recommend their own local spending plan, drawn up after full local consultation.

It would also ensure that any decisions on local spending plans made by the Secretary of State must be made public and would require the Government to publish long-term action plans to promote sustainability of local communities.

It would give every resident the right to make recommendations for that action plan through their principal council and would require the Government to give reasons for not accepting any recommendations made by the principal councils.

elliot.furniss@eadt.co.uk

HOLLAND-ON-SEA once had several banks and a wide range of shops on its High Street, but when businesses started moving away and visitors had to begin using nearby Clacton instead, the town went into a decline.

Tendring District Councillor Mary Bragg, who represents the Bartholomews ward, said the town was now left with no banks and just one building society, which has severely affected trade.

She said: “Those that have got transport can still go to the supermarket, but it has been years now since the banks went and took half the town's business with them.

“We've all had to adjust. The town is not as good as it was 15 years ago, and it's too late for Holland to change now.”

Mrs Bragg, 72, said there was now talk of closing one of the post offices and that the situation was “worrying” for people in the town of retirement age.

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