Only Prime Minister Rishi Sunak knows when he will call the general election that the country desperately needs.
All of us will welcome the additional uplift in funding announced in the final local government finance settlement, while acknowledging that much more support is necessary.
A key Liberal Democrat value is putting the environment first, so I am delighted to see that among English councils, out of the top 10 councils for recycling household waste, nine of them are led by Liberal Democrats.
Our shared work on the financial settlement for local government yielded a stopgap of a further essential £600 million, helping our councils set balanced budgets over the next month.
Just days before many councils set their most difficult budgets in years – and many months after the LGA warned that soaring demand for social care and temporary accommodation was posing an existential risk to council budgets – the Government has finally backtracked on its catastrophic provisional local government finance settlement for 2024/25 and announced £600 million in extra funding.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for local government, not least because of the announcement of the provisional finance settlement, but also because of the outstanding work that our colleagues across the sector have done in response to the flooding and damage caused by recent storms (including Henk, Isha and Jocelyn, as the February edition of first was going to press).
Do all government scandals need a television drama for people to take notice? ITV’s ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ horrified the public and triggered outrage.
As Independents and members of smaller parties, we need to take important – sometimes life-changing – decisions on behalf of all our residents, including the most vulnerable.
It is shaping up to be a busy year for local government in 2024.
I would like to wish everyone across the local government sector, officers and councillors alike, a very prosperous new year.