Key wins at party conferences

Across the conferences, we helped deliver a range of events, including debates, roundtables and receptions. Our councillors debated topics such as economic growth, children’s services, housing and adult social care, ensuring councils have a strong voice in policy discussions.

We hosted debates on the 2019 Spending Review at all three main party events, and our local government evening receptions were attended by Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable MP, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn MP, and Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire MP.

“There has been widespread praise from all the parties for the dedication of councillors

Councillors from the LGA’s Independent Group have also been speaking up for local government at the UKIP, Green and Plaid Cymru conferences, and the group holds its annual conference on 23 November, in London.

There has been widespread praise from all the parties for the dedication of councillors, and support for councils having the powers to deliver for our communities. This was demonstrated by the Government responding to the campaigning of councils and the LGA with a series of positive announcements – not least, on the housing borrowing cap.

LGA Chairman Lord Porter praised the Government for ensuring councils can be part of the solution to tackling our chronic housing shortage. Given that this has been a long-standing ask of councils, we know there will be a huge appetite for using these new borrowing powers to deliver the homes our communities need.

We are encouraging the Treasury to move quickly to ensure current borrowing caps are removed and to confirm that councils will be able to borrow at prudential levels. Further details will be confirmed in the Budget, and we continue our work in the background to ensure there are no strings attached.

Other wins included an additional £240 million for adult social care this winter, announced by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock. This will be allocated to councils based on the adult social care relative needs formula, and is aimed at reducing delayed transfers of care.

This injection of desperately needed funding recognises the role of councils in achieving a sustainable health and care system. However, the pressures facing social care are year round and continued short-term bailouts are not the answer. We continue to push for both sustainable funding for the short term and a long-term solution through our own social care green paper (see
www.futureofadultsocialcare.co.uk).

Mr Brokenshire announced plans to ban the use of combustible materials for all new high-rise residential buildings, hospitals, registered care homes and student accommodation, and pledged to “bring about a change in culture on building safety”.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, meanwhile, announced a new £200 million youth-endowment fund, focused on steering 10- to 14-year-olds at most risk of youth violence away from being serious offenders. There will also be a consultation on a new legal duty on councils and public sector partners to take action to prevent violent crime, and an independent review of drug misuse.

While this new funding and approach is positive, we continue to push the need to address the underfunding of children’s services, for cuts to councils’ public health budgets to be reversed, and for any new statutory duties to be fully funded.

For more information about the LGA’s public a airs work, please visit www.local.gov.uk/parliament

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