After attending the Safer Communities Board at the LGA yesterday morning, I walked along to Downing Street where, with several of my colleagues from Kent – notably Dartford, Gravesham and Swale Borough Councils and SEEDA – I attended a celebration of MAAs, or Multi Area Agreements.
The event, on the first floor of Number 10, celebrated the signing of MAAs for Liverpool, Lancashire Pennines and Leicestershire.
Clearly the Labour Government attach massive importance to these new agreements with local authorities – the Government were represented by front bench glitterati in the person of Hazel Blears, John Healey, Jack Straw, John Denham, Beverley Hughes, Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown, who signed each of the three agreements.
It was fascinating to be inside Number 10 – to walk up the stairs and see the portraits of past Prime Ministers, although interestingly the last three pictures are of Thatcher, Major and Blair – at which point the wall space runs out at the top of the stairs! It was also really interesting to hear from the policemen on duty that there are actually five front doors – each being sent away for cleaning and repainting as soon as the next one is hung.
But most of all, it was great for Kent to be represented at such an event. Our MAA will be coming up for signing in April, so hopefully I’ll be back then.