SWINDON Council’s former leader, Rod Bluh, has criticised the Government and David Cameron over their handling of councils in a stinging comment piece he has written for a local democracy think talk.

In the June edition of C’llr, the publication of the Local Government Information Unit, Coun Bluh (Con, Old Town) calls on ministers to work with councils to find solutions to the increasing pressure on council services, rather than centralising control under the banner of localism.

He writes: “All governments have fiercely resisted any serious devolution of power down to local authorities.

“We were told in 2009 by the then leader of the opposition, David Cameron, that this situation would change when he became prime minister in a new era of ‘localism’ “This localism we were told would happen this time because top down government had failed.

“I believed him because in my mind the evidence was overwhelming and the financial crisis would make the change absolutely essential.

“So for me it is unbelievably sad and depressing that this era of localism has become the label for some of the most serious centralisation of power seen to date. It is not the power of the local authorities that is being challenged – it is their very existence.”