We've been snubbed , say local authorities

28th September 2001 at 01:00
Local government leaders say Estelle Morris has snubbed them, after she refused their requests to discuss the recent White Paper.

They are angry that she has not met their association's all-party education committee since she became Education Secretary in June. The earliest meeting they have been offered is in November, after the end of the White Paper consultation period.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, Labour chair of the Local Government Association, has written to Ms Morris. "My colleagues feel, particularly in a time of significant further impending change in the education world, that to be denied a meeting with the new Secretary of State for more than five months is not acceptable. I have to say I agree with them," he wrote.

Peter Chalke, Conservative leader of Wiltshire council and vice-chair of the education committee, said: "If the Secretary of State cannot find time to talk to the four lead members of the LGA education committee who represent 150 authorities it is a clear message from her and this Government on how they want to treat local government."

A spokesperson for the Department for Education and Skills said that Ms Morris and other education ministers have had a number of meetings with LGA representatives since the election.

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