I am delighted to contribute to this important debate. I welcome the presence of the single representative of the Liberal Democrats, Norman Lamb; they were late to the party today, but it is very good to have them here eventually. They tell us so often in Cornwall how important they think local government is, but that has not been reflected in today’s debate, sadly.
Local government is on the frontline of delivering services to our residents. I know that from my time as a Cornwall councillor and from the sheer weight of correspondence I get in my office about things that are actually delivered by our local council, whether it is picking up the dog mess, cutting the grass and filling the potholes or more important issues such as adult social care. We must value local government, therefore, and see it as a central part of delivering services.
It is also clearly right that local government is going through a period of dramatic reform. We need to bring it into the modern age, drive out the inefficiencies and the waste so often found in local government, and make sure that it is fit for purpose and as well-run as possible.