The LGA continues its work to help shape and influence the national agenda, shine a spotlight on councils’ outstanding work, and push for the powers, flexibilities and sustainable funding local government needs to provide much-needed support to our communities now and into the future.
Positively, parliamentarians from all parties consistently highlight the outstanding contribution of councils in protecting lives and livelihoods, particularly as local leaders provide leadership to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The importance of sustainable funding for local government has also been a common theme in parliamentary debates and questions.
The Government’s one-year Spending Review provides a key opportunity to make the case for sustainable long-term funding and certainty for local government.
That is why the LGA produced a detailed and evidenced submission – with input from the Institute for Fiscal Studies – which highlights both the funding needed to stand still, and the investment required to rebuild our communities in a way that levels up inequalities and ensures every area can prosper.
Alongside the Spending Review, we expect a series of public service reforms in the coming months that will have a significant impact on councils and the communities we serve, and this is a major focus of our parliamentary lobbying.
Given the consultations that propose major reforms to our planning system (see p19), it was positive to see MPs from all sides of the House agree with the recommendations in our briefing on the importance of local and community-led planning.
Meanwhile with new domestic and trading measures expected as the EU transition period comes to an end and the potential for further devolution to local areas, we are supporting the work of the Devolution All-Party Parliamentary Group, which is undertaking a wide-ranging inquiry into the reforms Whitehall can implement to empower local areas.
Fixing social care will also continue to be a major priority for local government. The LGA has published seven principles that should underpin social care and support reform in light of COVID-19.
These principles, including our call for the Spending Review to ensure sustainable funding for care services, have featured widely in parliamentary discussions including in our evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee and in parliamentary debates in both Houses.
Councillors can continue to support us in making the case to national politicians by helping your local MPs understand your councils’ priorities and insights, the services that are under the most financial pressure in your areas, and the implications that under-funding could have for residents.
This will help bring to life the real consequences of the crisis we face, and could feature in their speeches, questions and scrutiny of proposals.
Where councils have the capacity, it is always useful for you to submit evidence to parliamentary inquiries that scrutinise national government’s proposals and performance and provide recommendations for ministers to consider.
Together, we can use these opportunities to make the case that councillors have the democratic mandate, expertise and local insights to change our communities for the better.