Dealing with the unexpected

Schools were closed; flooding on the tracks disrupted train services in the East and West Midlands; and hundreds of homes and businesses were submerged.

“I’m very proud of the way local government works together to provide mutual support – and not just in response to devastating floods

At one point, there were hundreds of flood warnings and alerts in place, from Cornwall to Newcastle.

Among the many public services working together trying to mitigate the immediate impact of the floods on residents, I know that council leaders and ward members were out in force in their yellow jackets, and council staff have been working around the clock to provide services and support, and to keep people informed.

Other councils rallied round to help neighbouring areas, for example by supplying additional sandbags.

When the waters recede, the blue light services leave and the national news agenda moves on, it will be local councils that continue to support local communities on the long road to recovery.

I’m very proud of the way local government deals with the unexpected and works together to provide mutual support – and not just in response to devastating floods.

Being there – being on the ground, and understanding our local communities – is key to providing the right response to any local crisis. The next government needs to give us the powers and resources we need to support our residents, and make the local decisions that matter for our areas.

Talking of which, I know our electoral services staff will be working flat out to make a success of the General Election: candidates across the country can campaign safe in the knowledge that local government will ensure smooth electoral administration.

Following discussions with the LGA and the sector, the Government has confirmed all reasonable election-related costs will be reimbursed including for identifying alternative venues for polling stations to minimise disruption to Christmas events.

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