Tag Archives: lga

£8 billion funding black hole by 2025 will swallow up popular council services

Communities may suffer the loss of leisure and cultural facilities, fewer bus services, unkempt parks and green spaces and see fly-tippers go unpunished without government investment in under-pressure council services.

On Friday the cross-party Local Government Association launched its campaign to influence the forthcoming government Spending Review by warning about the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils.

However, the LGA said that, with the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead their local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer.

Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services. 

Some councils are being pushed to the brink by this unprecedented loss of funding and an ongoing surge in demand for children’s services, adult social care services and homelessness support. This is on top of having to absorb other cost pressures, such as higher national insurance contributions, the apprenticeship levy and the National Living Wage.

More and more councils are struggling to balance their books, facing overspends and having to make in-year budget cuts.

Councils provide more than 800 services to residents in their local area – some of these are legal duties they have to provide whilst others are optional powers they can use depending on local priorities.

Money is increasingly having to be diverted from these optional services, which help build communities people want to live in, to plug growing funding gaps, while some councils have already been forced to cut their services back to the legal minimum “core offer”. 

With councils in England facing an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025, local government leaders fear many more will have to take similar action.

That could mean many cherished local – but discretionary – services such as the maintenance of parks, improving food hygiene and safety, certain bus services, cultural activities and council tax support for those in financial difficulty – face being drastically cut back by councils across the country.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 143 Comments

LibLink: Cllr Jayne McCoy: Council intervention drives housing market

Cllr Jayne McCoy chairs the London Borough of Sutton’s Housing, Economy and Business Committee. She has written for the Local Government Association’s First magazine about how Sutton Council have set up a development company to build the right sorts of houses at the prices key workers can afford:

In Sutton we have seen numerous private developments of one bedroom flats, however what we need are two and three bedroom family homes. We also see both the private for sale and private rented sector out of the price range of most of our residents.

In response we have sought to take control and lead the delivery of housing ourselves by setting up a council-owned development company. This will allow us to take advantage of preferential borrowing rates to invest in the housing market across all tenures.

The development company gives the council the flexibility to build homes for private ownership, private rent or to build council houses in the traditional sense. The company will also seek to unlock sites where development has stalled.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Local Government Conference live blog

Good morning from the Mercure Hotel in Manchester, where Liberal Democrats from around the country are gathered at the Local Government Conference jointly organised by ALDC and the Lib Dem contingent of the LGA.

The agenda for the day is here (pdf). I’ll cover as much as I can of some of the talks, as well as some comments from Don Foster, Gerald Vernon-Jackson and others. There will be a bit of a break mid-morning while I interview Nick Clegg for the site (we’ll publish the interview this week).

I’ll also try and post on the Lib Dem Voice twitter account

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

TOMORROW: Join us for coverage of the Lib Dem Local Government Conference

The Local Government Conference organised jointly by ALDC and the Lib Dem LGA group takes place tomorrow in Manchester. As you can see from the agenda (pdf) there is a packed schedule, with numerous MPs including Nick Clegg, Tim Farron and Ed Davey in attendance.

I will also be there, covering things for the site. I’ll have a live blog running here where I will bring you coverage of some of the talks, and hopefully some interviews from some of the participants. I’ll also try and tweet, both from my own twitter and the Lib Dem Voice account.

If you …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: What is keeping councils awake at night?

The Local Government Conference met in conference in Birmingham last week.

I am slightly (only very slightly) embarrassed to confess that I have attended every conference since the LGA was created in 1997. In that first year the conference (in Manchester) ran from Tuesday until Friday. There was a gala night on the set of Coronation Street (this is apparently a television soap opera for those of you too busy each evening with your politics).

John Prescott and Gordon Brown turned up to praise the new body’s birth and the role of local government (delicious irony in hindsight), John Bird and John …

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

Chris White writes: Powerful stuff from Clegg at the LGA conference

One of the highlights of the political calendar is the annual Local Government Association (or more correctly ‘Group’) conference. It’s a bit like a party conference but people go to bed earlier. And there are other political parties here. And officers.

Its formal function is to be the sovereign body of the LGG. It also allows exhibitors to exhibit, group leaders to network and national politicians to showcase.

So we heard from David Cameron, the first serving prime minister to speak at an LGA/LGG conference. He told us sternly that pensions had to be reformed and that strikes would only hurt the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Labour councils cut more jobs than Tory or Lib Dem areas

Labour councils are cutting far more jobs than their Conservative and Liberal Democrat neighbours – on average 50% more than Tory councils, according to figures revealed by the Guardian:

Labour authorities have issued on average 745 job “at-risk” notifications, compared with 498 and 414 respectively from Tory and Lib Dem councils.

The figures are the first to confirm that Labour councils are making bigger cuts and appear to bolster claims by David Cameron and Nick Clegg that Labour councils are cutting and then blaming the coalition for “politically motivated” reasons.

However, the Guardian’s analysis also reveals that Labour authorities are suffering the

Posted in News | Also tagged | 32 Comments

Chris White writes: LGA all in a Pickles

Lib Dem Voice, the Local Government Chronicle and the Daily Mirror all featured a story recently about council leaders reaching the end of their tether with Eric Pickles. The event was a routine meeting of the Local Government Group Executive (LGA to you and me). I was one of those quoted as hurling my toys out of the pram. The Tories were more muted at that meeting but have nevertheless been pretty vocal elsewhere in their hostility to the Secretary of State for Local Government.

Surely it was ever thus? New Government comes in. Local Government gets its hopes up. New …

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

Opinion: Planet Earth to Grayson

Oh Dear, oh dear. I have just read Richard Grayson’s Observer article and to say it is lacking in reflection and analysis is an understatement.

I touched on this on my own blog site yesterday but perhaps I could expand a little.

Ed Milliband was a supporter then a member of a highly illiberal government. Let’s not forget how bad the Labour Government was when it:

  • Entered into an illegal war in Iraq
  • Allowed the banking crisis to fester in spite of warnings
  • Developed expensive bureaucracies to deal with problems
  • Allowed the social housing stock to decrease by 37,500 in their time in government
  • Attacked

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 62 Comments

LibLink: Cllr Richard Kemp on the Lib Dem Local Government conference

Lib Dem councillors had their annual conference this week within the confines of Local Government House in Smith Square, London. Co-hosted by ALDC and the Lib Dem LGA group, the conference pulls together colleagues from across the country with our parliamentary team. This year, of course, our parliamentary colleagues have joined many thousands of Lib Dem councillors in actually being in charge of running things. Normally our councillors are more experienced at holding the reins of power than our MPs.

Cllr Richard Kemp has written a review for Total Politics:

Nick pulled no punches in telling us how difficult the decisions

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

Conferences: #lgaconf vs #ldconf

As I headed to Harrogate for the LGA conference last week, it was impossible to avoid comparing that with the many previous conferences I’ve attended with the Lib Dems in just the same venue.  We’re frequent flyers at Harrogate, home of our MP Phil Willis, in a conference centre he opened – if I remember the plaque correctly.

Barely months before, LDV had had its own crowded office and a successful fringe event – the recording of which is still available as a recording if you want to hear all over again – so returning for the summer events as …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Cameron’s vision for local government is bleak

Last week’s Local Government Association conference was addressed on its final day by three representatives from Westminster who’d made the journey northwards to Harrogate to face the serried ranks of senior local government councillors and officers.

The Lib Dems were represented by Vince Cable MP, given an early morning slot that not everyone got to. He was warmly received by all those who were there, in any case, which may represent that it was just the Lib Dem LGA group present. His speech covered his history as a councillor himself in the early 1970s when local government …

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 5 Comments
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