Listening to local government

Social care will be a top concern of councillors at Labour’s party conference.

At the end of September, the Labour Party will gather for its annual conference for the first time in two years. It will meet in Brighton for what will be Sir Keir Starmer’s first in-person conference speech since he became Labour Party Leader almost 18 months ago. 

I know that all Labour Party members, as well as those attending in a work capacity, are going to be keen to hear what Keir will say in his speech to conference, as well as hearing from members of the shadow cabinet, including our Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, who will speak on the Monday. 

I am confident that, when we meet in Brighton, the Labour Party will share a positive vision for our country in which people are not only properly supported, but also have the tools and opportunities to succeed.

Since Keir became Leader, I have been attending shadow cabinet, bringing the voice of local government to the discussions.

I am encouraged by the commitment that Keir and his shadow cabinet have shown to local government. They are involving groups of Labour councillors in discussions about policy and campaigning, and holding regular meetings and roundtables about policy issues that not only affect local government, but in which our Labour councillors have a high level of expertise.

“Labour will be keen to pitch their vision and values to the electorate”

The past few weeks have been dominated by the Government’s announcement on adult social care. After waiting for more than two years, the new policy on social care has raised more questions in local government. 

Only £5.4 billion of the money raised will go to social care in the three-year period starting in the 2022/23 financial year, with the raising of the lifetime cap not coming into place until later in 2023.   

There has been little mention of wider local government finance in the announcement, and little mention – apart from the promise of more announcements and papers – about the social care workforce and the long-term sustainability of the social care market.  

Just as social care has dominated the discussion in local government and national politics over the past few weeks, I expect that it will be high on the agenda at the party conferences this year. 

Labour will be keen to set out their proposals for social care, both to offer an alternative to the Government, but also to pitch their vision and values to the electorate ahead of the next General Election. 

I know at the events that we have planned at Labour Party conference – which include the LGA Labour Group’s Rally for Local Government – and at the LGA’s fringe debate, social care will be raised as a top concern by Labour councillors.

The Labour Party Conference takes place in Brighton from 25-29 September, you can view more information on the Labour Party website. The LGA’s Labour Group is holding a debate at conference on ‘Build back local: how do we harness the power of local government to level up across the country’, from 1pm to 2.30pm on 27 September. The Association of Labour Councillors’ evening reception takes place from 8pm on 26 September, at the Grand Hotel, Brighton. For more information about the LGA’s work at the party conferences, visit our website.

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