Tag Archives: communities and local government

Don Foster MP writes… Our big gig

Readers may recall some criticism that came my way at the end of last year following an article in The House magazine that implied I was missing the glamour of my former role working on the Culture, Media and Sport portfolio. Though I tried to dispel this with exciting tales of building regulations and brownfield development, Lib Dem Voice ran with a heading of, “Does Don Foster like his new Government job?” So let me be clear. I do, I really do.

Of course, there are some really difficult matters to deal with such as council funding, homelessness and …

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Opinion: Pickles pensions off councillors

The winning Kendal Town CouncillorsSome of you may have heard this brief anecdote before.

Some years ago a civil servant appeared in St Albans attempting to sell some ‘new’ ideas from the Government of the day about local government. He stood up before various district and county councillors in Hertfordshire and announced that ‘in future the Government wanted councillors to represent the people to the town hall rather than the other way round.’

He said it without malice or irony and as a result was not lynched – turning up some years later to dismantle the Audit Commission.

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Eric Pickles’ 50 money-saving ideas show that he has no idea about local government

Wedenesday saw the announcement of the local government funding settlement for 2013-14. As expected, councils across England will be facing even more cuts in their already-stretched budgets, and wondering just how they continue to deliver services in the face of ever-widening budget gaps. (See here or here for examples of how a funding squeeze and rising costs are impacting councils)

Of course, local government should be glad that we have a Secretary of State who understands the issues affecting the sector and is prepared to fight its cause in Whitehall while puncturing some of the myths that are propagated …

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

Danny, Don and Nick stand up for Local Government in a way that Pickles never has

The Autumn Statement has announced no further cuts to local government in the next financial year, with a 2% cut the following year.

We’re grateful to Danny Alexander, Don Foster and Nick Clegg for stepping in and saying “no” to further cuts to local services over the next year – in a way we just haven’t seen from the DCLG Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.

Liberal Democrat Ministers have stopped an across-the-board cut of 1% to local government next year. That means up to £240m extra that will be in council budgets every year which will help fund youth services, streets, parks, …

Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Annette Brooke MP writes… Decent start to Decent Homes Programme

Hot on the heels of last week’s eagerly awaited Housing Strategy comes some more good news on housing. Most of the debate on housing is rightly focussed on the need to build more houses, or get the ones we have already brought back into use. We need more homes to ensure that we can keep up with the numbers of new households forming every year, and ensure that everyone can have a roof over their heads. But too often, the debate forgets to focus on the quality of houses with the same intensity. This is something that, as Liberal Democrats, …

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Andrew Stunell MP writes… New Homes Bonus is rewarding communities that go for growth

Councils across England will receive a cash boost today with the provisional allocations of this year’s New Homes Bonus money being announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Now in its second year, the New Homes Bonus is proving to be a powerful incentive for local authorities to drive development and build the houses that we so desperately need.

Councils are rewarded for building new homes, and bringing empty homes back into use. Council tax on each home is matched by the Government for six years, with extra money for every affordable home.

The key things Liberal Democrats need …

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Andrew Stunell MP writes… Today’s Housing Strategy will deliver the homes and growth we need

The long-awaited Housing Strategy was announced this morning by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. It’s an important document, and it sets out the coalition’s stall on how we intend to get the housing market – and in particular housebuilding – moving again.

It’s been a long-established view that we have a housing crisis in the UK. Although new starts were almost a third higher in 2010-11 than they were in 2008-09, there were just 103,000 new build housing completions in England last year. Meanwhile the latest household projections suggest that the number of households will grow by 232,000 …

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Opinion: Localism? They don’t know the meaning of the word!

Any Liberal Democrat will tell you he or she believes in localism. So it may be surprising that we have a ‘graveyard slot’ debate next Tuesday on what ought to be familiar territory.

What’s more, we are given to believe that the Coalition Government, despite what we always thought about the Tories, is also pursuing an aggressively localist agenda.

Up to a point, Lord Copper.

On a good day the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government does indeed talk the talk and walk the walk of devolving power. But he also has bad days. He has told councils that …

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Andrew Stunell at the Local Government Association conference: putting our ideas into practice

Three months ago, if I had said that the Liberal Democrats would be in government, and I’d be a Minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government, you would have laughed at me. Yet here we are. I’ve fought no less than eight general elections and at the first seven, all we did was tell people what the Liberal Democrats would do if we got into power. This time we get to show them instead.

And with the Local Government Association Conference coming up this week, our priorities on local government will get their turn in the spotlight.

In …

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Opinion: Time for Communities and Local Government to visit the seaside

The Coalition Government has avoided the temptation to reorganise Whitehall departments. The Department for Children, Schools and Families has been renamed the Department for Education but there has not been the wholesale reshaping we saw under Blair – which led to the creation of such historical oddities as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and a vast amount of anomalies, cost and muddle.

ODPM, of course, could not by definition outlive the retirement of John Prescott. So it morphed into the Department for Communities and Local Government. The D then suddenly disappeared and now we have ‘CLG’.

This, as I …

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