Party conference season

The LGA is making the case for local leadership to address national challenges. 

COVID-19 has dominated the political agenda for the past 18 months, with government spending hundreds of billions of pounds and mobilising every part of the public sector to protect lives and livelihoods. 

The role of councils has been widely recognised throughout this time of national crisis, and local leadership has been essential. Councils have supported their residents, and adapted and innovated as they led their communities and created new services from scratch. 

Councillors and council staff have been on the frontline in the battle against the virus, as directors of public health and their teams helped minimise the spread of the virus, boosting the National Test and Trace programme with local insight. 

Alongside the NHS, councils played a key role in the vaccination programme, supported the homeless and the vulnerable into safe accommodation, and distributed various grants to their local communities – at the same time as keeping other vital local services going, such as waste and recycling. 

As the political party conferences return this autumn, they present a key opportunity to highlight the important contribution of councils throughout this period and how they are leading their communities towards recovery. 

The LGA will be using the conference season to explore how, with the right funding and freedoms, councils will play a leading role in the recovery from the pandemic: driving improvements in public health; boosting local economic growth; reviving town and city centres; building more homes; improving roads; and equipping people with the skills they need to succeed, so that no-one is left behind.

Our Chairman, Cllr James Jamieson, and political group leaders Cllr Nick Forbes CBE (Lab), Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE (Con), Cllr Joe Harris (Lib Dem) and Cllr Marianne Overton MBE (Ind), and LGA President Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (Crossbench), will be joined by many others from across local government in taking the message of local leadership to party conferences. 

“How do we harness the power of local government to level up?”

The conferences are an opportunity to press the key themes around our ‘Build back local’ campaign (, which calls on central government to trust councils to be its delivery partner, delivering recovery locally in a way that has the greatest impact for their communities.

The LGA will again be hosting our own debate at each conference, with high-profile speakers including ministers, shadow ministers, senior councillors and other influencers, as we consider ‘how we harness the power of local government to level up across the country’. 

Our councillors will also debate a range of topics – including levelling up, devolution, planning, affordable housing, children’s social care and boosting local economies – at events organised by stakeholders, ensuring councils have a strong voice in policy discussions throughout conference season.

The 2021 Liberal Democrat conference will be held online from 17-20 September. It will be the second with Sir Ed Davey as leader, and he will be looking to build on his party’s local successes in the May council elections. 

In Brighton (25-29 September), Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer is likely to make a number of domestic policy announcements, and set out a direction for the party and its plans for the country. 

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party will be meeting in Manchester (3-6 October), having entrenched its position as the largest group at the LGA following the local elections. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will also continue to set out his vision for the UK, as we learn to live with coronavirus.

In October (22-24), the Green Party meets online and in person in Birmingham, and will continue to build on its local success, championing its members’ proposals for environmental and economic change. 

The conference season draws to a close on 29 October, with Cllr Marianne Overton leading the LGA Independent Group’s conference. This is open to all members of the LGA Independent Group and is free to attend, and will be held in a hybrid format at the LGA’s Smith Square offices in London.

The conferences and the upcoming parliamentary session are going to be vitally important in making the case for building back local. 

We will be working with councillors, parliamentarians and partner organisations to make the positive case for local leadership in addressing the challenges the nation faces. 

LGA events at the party conferences

Liberal Democrats conference

Online,17-20 September

LGA debate

‘Build back local: how do we harness the power of local government to level up across the country?’

Sunday 19 September, 4.20pm to 5.30pm

Speakers include: Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council (Chair); Cllr Joe Harris, Leader of the LGA’s Liberal Democrat Group; Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson; Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, LGA President; Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Demos.

Labour Party conference

Brighton,25-29 September

Association of Labour Councillors evening reception
Sunday 26 September, 8.00pm to 9.30pm
Albert Room, Grand Hotel, Brighton

Speakers include: Cllr Nick Forbes CBE, Leader of the LGA’s Labour Group

LGA debate

‘Build back local: how do we harness the power of local government to level up across the country?’

Monday 27 September, 1.00pm to 2.30pm

Speakers include: Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Leader of the LGA’s Labour Group (Chair); Cllr Nick Forbes CBE, Leader of the LGA’s Labour Group; Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, LGA President; Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour Party Chair and Chair of Labour Policy Review.

Conservative Party conference 

Evening reception

Manchester, 3-6 October
Monday 4 October, 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Petersfield Suite, Midland Hotel, Manchester

Speakers include: Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE, Leader of the LGA’s Conservative Group

LGA debate

‘Build back local: how do we harness the power of local government to level up across the country?’

Sunday 3 October, 6.00pm to 7.30pm

Speakers include: Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman (Chair); Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE, Leader of the LGA’s Conservative Group; Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (invited); Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, LGA President; Jonathan Werran, Chief Executive of Localis. 

For the latest information on LGA events at the party conferences, please visit


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