Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has publicly backed the Sutton Council leader’s call for local authorities to be given increased powers.

Mr Clegg made the comments at a visit to Carshalton High School for Girls on Thursday June 12.

At a Local Government Association conference in July last year, Councillor Ruth Dombey called on the government to give more powers to local authorities.

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Councillor Dombey says local authorities are trusted by voters

She claimed councils are more trusted by voters and have proved they can be innovative and effective in the face of austerity.

Mr Clegg told the Sutton Guardian: “I fully support Ruth’s call for councils to be able to make more of their own decisions.

“One of the key things for us in central government is to hand more powers to local governments.

“They without a doubt need more freedom.

“This is something we have been pressing the Conservatives on.”

Speaking in Manchester last year Coun Dombey called for local authorities to receive more funding for further education and skills and employment.

She also said councils should have the flexibility to drive economic growth, be given powers over house building, and be able to set local taxation and retain the proceeds.

In response to Mr Clegg’s support, she said: “Local councils understand their communities better than Whitehall and I’m very pleased the Deputy Prime Minister agrees that we must have more powers to meet many competing demands.

“It is an important step and I wish him luck in convincing his partners in the coalition.”

Mr Clegg was in Sutton announcing his parental guarantee plan.

The policy has long been a part of the Lib Dem manifesto, and is designed to ensure all pupils across all types of secondary schools are taught from a core curriculum by a qualified teacher.

Currently academies and free schools are exempt from having to meet those standards.

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The girls had the chance to ask Mr Clegg questions about the future of our country

Mr Clegg was accompanied by Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake, and the Yeovil MP David Laws on his visit to Carshalton High School.

The three politicians sat before a panel of 11 pupils ranging from year groups 9-13.

The girls asked questions about climate change, the future of education, and whether the party would join another coalition.

Mr Clegg told them: “I do not believe in going into a coalition for the sake of it, but I do think it is right if it is the best thing for the country.

“The way people vote is changing, the public do not vote the same as their parents any more, or the same as everyone on their street.

“There will be more coalitions in future so I cannot rule the Lib Dems out of being part of one again.”