PUBLIC SECT0R: Birmingham City Council supremo censures PM Blair

Sir Michael Lyons, Birmingham City Council's departing CEO, has

criticised Tony Blair personally for exaggerating the bad press that

local government receives.

Lyons told the IPR Local Government Conference that Labour

administrations since 1997 have created a huge gap between expectation

and actual delivery of services.

This has led to a nationwide dissatisfaction with councils and an

increase in negative stories, according to Lyons.

He said: 'One of the biggest disappointments is the extent that most

Ministers, and even the Prime Minister, have chosen to add to this by

talking of our weaknesses and inability to change.'

Lyons, who is to leave his post at the end of the month to head INLOGOV,

the Birmingham University-based institute of local government studies,

added: 'Ministers will come to the conclusion, probably in two years'

time, that an emerging gap between what the public expects and what

councils can deliver will cost them votes.'

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