THURROCK MP Jackie Doyle-Price has fired a “shot across the bows” of Thurrock Council by reminding them of the powers the government have should they “fail to discharge their responsibilities effectively”.
In a debate in the House of Commons on accountancy, Ms Doyle-Price asked the Secretary of State for Local Government, Robert Neill “What steps his Department takes in the event of a local authority’s accounts being qualified?”
Mr Neill replied: “The qualification of a local authority’s financial accounts is a matter for the authority themselves and their auditors”.
YT asked the MP to explain why she asked the question.
Ms Doyle-Price said: “Under the localism agenda, the Government is determined to give powers back to local councils and local communities.
“However if this is to be successful, local councils will have to use these new found freedoms with responsibility. This is a challenging time for local authorities who are trying to implement the necessary cuts to public spending whilst seeking to maintain front-line services, and we need to be sure that in doing so they do manage their finances responsibly”.
The Secretary of State maintains reserve powers to intervene where councils fail to discharge all their responsibilities effectively. Although the intention is that these powers are used sparingly, I am using questions to Ministers to seek to identify those occasions when the Government would make an intervention.”