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'Community kitty' to put public in charge of streets

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DECISIONS ON building road safety schemes such as traffic calming could be devolved to residents in affected streets, under a proposal launched by new communities secretary Hazel Blears last week.

Under the proposal, every neighbourhood in the UK will have control of a 'community kitty' in the next five years, giving people direct control of where the money for their area is spent.

'Everyone should have a real sense of power and control over aspects of their lives as diverse as their health services, whether they can cross the road safely, or how their local police operate, ' said Blears.

She added that the idea was being copied from Brazil, where it the idea of a community kitty has been successfully adopted in the city slums.

'It's a way of making people feel more able to say: 'This is my street and I'm proud of it.' It's devolution right to the doorstep.' Blears announced that 10 local authorities and regeneration bodies would take the initiative would be taken forward.

Each pilot will come back to the Department for Communities & Local Government within 12 months with rmer proposals on how to take forward 'participatory budgeting'.

The pilot authorities are: Lewisham Borough Council, Bradford City Council, Salford City Council, Sunderland New Deal for Communities, Newcastle City Council, Southampton Primary Care Trust, Merseyside Waterfront Regeneration Partnership, Manton neighbourhood management area, St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council and Birmingham City Council.

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