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29.05.14

New LGA chair calls for ‘one unified voice’ approach

Cllr David Sparks is to officially succeed Sir Merrick Cockell as chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA) when his term of office comes to an end in July this year.

Sparks, who was nominated by the LGA Labour group as its candidate for the role after last week’s local election results, stated that “these are crucial times for local government and it will be vital that we continue to speak with one unified voice”.

He added that a key priority is to “ensure that this government, and whoever makes up the next one, commits to a genuine devolution of powers to local areas to safeguard the future of public services”.

Current chairman Sir Merrick Cockell's term of office will come to an end on 8 July, on the opening day of the LGA's Annual Conference when the cross-party General Assembly will confirm Cllr Sparks into the position. He will be the first from the Labour Party since 2004.

Sparks said: "I am excited and honoured at the prospect of serving as chair of the LGA.

“There is a desire across the political spectrum for the LGA to be robust in our dealings with government, while able to work constructively with ministers. As a Labour chairman I will be able to put forward a strong case for local government from a position outside the Coalition parties. I will be a staunch advocate for councils of all types and political make-ups.”

Outgoing chairman Sir Merrick added that the LGA's strength lies in its ability to speak with one voice on behalf of local government, regardless of political party.

“While the political leadership of the LGA is changing, under David's chairmanship I know that it will continue to be a united voice for councils of all types and political persuasions,” he said.

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