Tag Archives: andrew stunell

Lib Dem council leaders attack Pickles over speed and scale of cuts

Over ninety senior Liberal Democrat councillors have written to The Times (£) today, attacking the front-loading of local government cuts imposed by central government. The letter is as interesting for what it doesn’t say as for what it does. Despite the spin placed on the letter by the BBC this morning, the letter does not deny either the need for cuts, nor the deficit which has required them. Rather the letter argues that the cuts are too big and proceeding too quickly, and that councils could protect more frontline services and save more money in the long term if spending reductions were carried out in a more controlled manner. The senior councillors are stating publicly what many Lib Dems in local government  have been muttering for a while: that councils recognise that they must play their part in reducing the national deficit and controlling spending, the speed and depth of the cuts to government grants have left local authorities with little room to manoeuvre.

The attacks have centred on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, EricPickles, who despite his local government background is widely seen as not having put up a fight for his own departmental spending and having been too keen to offer cuts. The letter is scathing about  the seeming inability of Pickles to work with local councils to promote efficiencies and minimise the impact of the cuts on vulnerable people. The Secretary of State has kept a public silence over the letter, leaving Lib Dem Communities Minister Andrew Stunell to call on the party not to fall out over “pointless debate”.  Stunell said, “Whilst I fully understand the real challenges councils face I think it will be much better to direct all our energy to solving these problems rather than falling out between ourselves”. The full text of the letter is reproduced below.

Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged | 42 Comments

Andrew Stunell reveals details of government plans to get empty homes put to use

Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has been laying out details of how the Coalition Government is intending to get more empty homes put to use housing people. As the press release says:

Councils will receive powerful new incentives, with the coalition matching the council tax raised for every empty property brought back into use. Local authorities will be given the freedom to spend this money as they see fit. The government is also investing £100m in a fund for Housing Associations to bring empty homes back into use.

There are around 300,000 empty homes across the UK, and local residents are being encouraged to work with the council to identify where these homes are, so that their local community can start benefitting from the extra cash that can be used to improve their local area.

Andrew Stunell himself said,

Posted in News | Also tagged | 24 Comments

Localism and council funding: today’s announcements

Two big pieces of local government news today – more powers and less money.

On the more powers front, here are some of the highlights from the Localism Bill:

  • A General Power of Competence for Councils – in other words, councils will in future be able to do what they think is right for their area, rather than only be able to take action in areas laid down by central government
  • Letting councils return to the Committee System if they wish, and introducing the option for more Directly Elected Mayors
  • Abolition of the Standards Board
  • Giving local people the power to veto “excessive” council tax increases
  • Devolve

Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged | 30 Comments

Opinion: Why the Government’s social housing reforms are flawed

The Coalition announced its plans for the reform of social housing on Monday and Andrew Stunell – our man inside the Department for Communities and Local Government – summarised the main points and the reasoning behind them here on Lib Dem Voice.

These plans, especially when coupled with the previously announced changes to housing benefit, are sure to spark a great deal of debate on these pages and we’ve already seen this happening in response to Stunell’s article.

At first glance, the main idea behind the reforms is admirable – to make social housing fairer. Most people are aware of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

LDVideo: Andrew Stunell’s latest visit to Oldham East and Saddleworth

Government minister and Hazel Grove MP Andrew Stunell has already been to Oldham East and Saddleworth three weeks in a row to support Elwyn Watkins’ campaign and on his latest visit has recorded this message:

Posted in Lib Dem TV and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Adrian Sanders writes… The cap that doesn’t fit

People outside of London who cannot afford to buy a home or meet their rent without help from the benefit system are missing out in the current debate on the capping of Housing Benefit.

The housing benefit bill doubled under Labour but it wasn’t because of an increase in claimants, it was because Labour failed to ensure enough regulated rent social housing was built for the increasing numbers of people who could not and cannot afford to buy.

The problem didn’t start under Labour; it began in the early 80’s. The ratio between wages and house prices rose at the same …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments

Andrew Stunell writes…Open Government is Better Government

Earlier in the year, my colleague Eric Pickles announced that local authorities would be required to publish details of all of their spending above £500. This reform will go hand in hand with a requirement from November for central government departments to publish monthly details of all spending over £25,000. The Department for Communities and Local Government, however, have decided to go one better, and join our local government colleagues and publish everything over £500.

Why is this important, I hear you ask? Won’t it just provide the opposition, and for that matter, organisations like the Tax Payers Alliance with greater …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Parliament to scrutinise government’s planning reforms

The Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has announced that it will be holding  two separate inquiries into aspects of the government’s local planning regime. One inquiry will examine the decision to abolish regional spatial strategies (RSS) and the other will review the coalition’s localism agenda. The abolition of the regional spatial strategies was one of the main measures featured in the coalition government’s Localism Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech.

The inquiry into the abolition of regional spatial strategies will focus primarily on the implications for house building, in particular the implications of the abolition of regional house building …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

If English Council meets and nobody knows, did it really meet?

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, but whilst most people heading for London were on their way to Pride, or Lords for the cricket, or Wimbledon for the tennis, a few dozen hardy Liberal Democrats were heading towards the St Alban’s Centre near Chancery Lane station for the first of 2010′s two meetings of English Council.

Unusually, the first item on the agenda was a speech by the Party President, Ros Scott, who talked about the challenges facing the Party in the weeks, months and years ahead, as well as some of the work being done at Federal level to address …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Liberal Democrat General Election Team announced

Nick Clegg has announced today the team that will advise him on strategy, resources and communications, as well as the planning and delivery of the Lib Dems’ General Election strategy.

From the Liberal Democrats’ website:

Nick Clegg said:

“I am delighted to announce the team that will lead the planning and delivery of our General Election campaign.

“I have asked John Sharkey, my adviser on Strategic Communications and the former MD of Saatchi’s, to Chair the Campaign, supported by Andrew Stunell MP as Vice Chair.

“John’s extensive experience managing major communications businesses combined with Andrew’s campaigning expertise will be a formidable combination steering the

Posted in General Election and News | Also tagged , , , , and | 31 Comments



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  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 29th Jul - 9:35am
    Peter Provided the objectives set by the boss are fair, achievable and measurable, there is no reason for it not working. Provided ..., yes. Now...
  • User AvatarMichael Cole 29th Jul - 9:10am
    There's no question that Nick is a decent and likeable man and has been unfairly demonised by some of the media. It's mainly the naïve...
  • User AvatarNick Tregoning 29th Jul - 8:48am
    Ah no, sorry Peter - 75% of our laws are not made in the EU. That's a UKIP-fact - the relationship between a UKIP-fact and...
  • User AvatarAH 29th Jul - 8:48am
    On the other hand, is it any wonder that Catherine Bearder hs a 100% attendance record? Afterall, she is a party of one! What a...
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    I will take Caron's comment about "deed poll" in the good-humoured spirit that it is intended, and I know that among the few people who...
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    it is an odd argument to hear from a lib-dem in the context of human rights in Commonwealth, when i would use the same argument...