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Plus ca change

Further education colleges would be returned to the control of French-style councils, with mayors chosen by proportional representation, under a radical new plan for local government reform.

A 43-point blueprint for change, eliminating quangos and returning a whole tranche of powers over education, taxes, police and health has been issued this week by the Commission for Local Democracy. The commission was set up by the late BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Brian Redhead.

Taking Charge: The Rebirth of Local Democracy is available from the Commission for Local Democracy, 200-208 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P 9LA. Pounds 9.95.

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