Conservative councillors heard from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor at their virtual annual conference
The Conservative Party Conference is always a special event for us as it provides an opportunity for the Conservative family to get together, discuss various policies and hear from the Prime Minister and other keynote speakers.
This year’s conference should have been held in Birmingham. However, due to the pandemic, the party rightly held a virtual conference from 3-6 October.
An elaborate 3D virtual event was created, with computer-generated auditorium, foyer and fringe meeting rooms, so all delegates could enjoy the full conference experience.
Delegates could visit the exhibition area where they were able to chat with exhibitors and purchase merchandise. It was truly innovative.
During the conference, the Prime Minister emphasised his commitment to levelling up and building back our country better after coronavirus.
“The Prime Minister emphasised his commitment to levelling up and building back our country better after coronavirus”
He confirmed that the Government will build 40 new hospitals by 2030 and invest in more doctors and nurses.
Additionally, working closely with local authorities, the Government will improve the transport links between all nations and regions of the UK – bringing communities closer together.
I was also delighted to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement on the Government’s plan to introduce long-term fixed-rate mortgages (with 5 per cent deposits). This new scheme will make it easier for young people to own their own home and help more first-time buyers get onto the housing ladder.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, said his top priority is to support jobs and create opportunity for everybody. He outlined the Government’s Job Entry Targeted Support, backed by a £238 million investment, to support those who have been out of work because of coronavirus.
This was followed by the Kickstart Scheme that the Government has recently launched to help create thousands of new jobs for young people. Backed by a £2 billion investment, the scheme offers funding to businesses to create job replacements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are claiming Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment.
Moreover, following the party conference, the Chancellor announced a very welcome extension to the furlough scheme for firms that may be required to close as a result of national or local lockdowns, with businesses able to claim two-thirds of staff wages.
During the virtual conference, we also hosted ‘Local Government Q&A’, a fringe event featuring LGA board lead members including Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Community Wellbeing Board; Cllr David Renard, Chairman of the Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board; Cllr Teresa Heritage, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Board; Cllr Peter Golds, Deputy Chairman of the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board; and Cllr John Fuller, Conservative Group Deputy Leader.
The event allowed me and lead members to discuss the key policy issues and give an insight to delegates about the LGA boards and the important work they do.
We also sponsored the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Q&A session, organised by the Conservative Councillors’ Association and attended by many Conservative councillors.
I would like to thank everyone, especially our lead board members, who facilitated and participated in this unique conference and made it such a success in difficult circumstances.
I hope we will be able to meet in person at the next party conference.