It is dusty there, so I may well have a tear in my eye. It will have nothing to do with handing over to my successor as LGA chairman, at our annual general meeting.
“Local government has got on with the job and continued to deliver the vital local public services that our communities rely on
I have loved this job; every day has been different, and it has been an absolute honour to represent local government, and to help make a difference on behalf of the sector.
The LGA has helped secure many ‘wins’ and successes over the past four years, from the extra £2 billion for adult social care in the 2017 Spring Budget to changes to key legislation and policy.
But I am most proud that we finally got the Government to scrap the housing borrowing cap, so councils can borrow against their existing housing assets to build more homes.
None of this would have been possible without the support I have received from the LGA’s staff and senior elected members, and their hard work on behalf of local government.
But it would also have been impossible without you, our members, and the evidence and advice you have provided so that we can go and make our case in Parliament, influence ministers and help shape the debate in the media.
Our biggest strength has been that, while national politics has ground to a halt in Westminster and got bogged down in Brexit, local government has got on with the job and continued to deliver the vital local public services that our communities rely on – despite losing 60p in every £1 of central government funding.
Those funding pressures are now acute, which is why it is as important as ever that we use our annual conference to publicise our innovative and good practice, and make the case for a sustainable financial settlement that allows us to improve our local areas and the lives of our residents.