Raising awareness of the financial crisis

We’re just back from the Liberal Democrat spring conference, where we had a busy and successful time, if a bit exhausting!

As we gathered in York, we celebrated the news that we now have 3,000 principal authority Liberal Democrat councillors following a string of by-election gains – for the first time in more than a decade. 

Our reception included the local government version of the Oscars, with party leader Sir Ed Davey MP presenting the ‘Council Group of the Year’ awards to some of our excellent council groups. It is good to see how the party leadership values the work we do in local government.

We also ran a fringe meeting on community safety and tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, and the contribution councils can make – very timely in advance of the police and crime commissioner elections on 2 May. There was also a meeting to recognise the work our groups in areas such as Liverpool and Southwark are doing to support communities in our cities.  

Liberal Democrat councillors tabled two amendments and a policy motion to the party conference on the financial crisis in local government. 

We called for more government support for councils, and raised the warning, loud and clear, that if that did not happen, local government as we know it will cease to exist. My thanks to Somerset Council Leader Cllr Bill Revans for seconding the motion and for outlining the challenges his council faces.

“Without more government support for councils, local government as we know it will cease to exist

We also spoke out on funding for community sports facilities and, again, for government funding over the party’s plan to tackle persistent school absences. 

So, onwards to the General Election, whenever that will be. 

We have met with the Lib Dem manifesto coordinator, Lord Newby, to discuss Lib Dem Group and LGA priorities, and will be following up.

And there is plenty of common ground; for example, an agreement on hosting cross-party talks to find a solution for social care funding. 

Let’s keep working together across the party divide to get the best possible deal for local government.


Thinking about future generations

Spring Budget ‘a missed opportunity’