Tag Archives: local government funding

Paul Scriven: We need to fund Councils properly and give them the powers to create great communities

Local Government is an issue of paramount importance to Liberal Democrats. Last week in the Lords, Liberal Democrat peer Paul Scriven led a debate on the essential services that local authorities provide. He outlined how chronic underfunding of local government, combined with rising demand for services was creating unsustainable problems.

Here is his speech:

I am very pleased to be leading this debate because to me it is a vital issue that affects every village, every town, every city and every region: local government has a positive power to change people’s lives. Just think of the older person who is becoming vulnerable and possibly losing their independence. With good public health, good housing services and good social services that person can continue to lead an independent life with dignity. Just think of the young man who might be on a crossroads between violence and going forward to have a fulfilling life. With good youth services and education services that young person can be supported to make the correct decision and have a successful life.

Local government can facilitate enterprise and business locally with good business development services, planning and support services provided by local authorities. They can help to create vibrant, successful and sustainable communities: libraries, parks, clean air, shared spaces and bringing people together to give them opportunities to achieve. That is the vision that I think most people have of a good local service: bottom up and delivering for people—not just a service provider of last resort but a local democratic hub that facilitates and brings opportunities for people and businesses to succeed.

I will mention my own journey in Sheffield in the local authority, first as a back-bench councillor helping individual constituents, then as leader of the opposition, ​many times clashing with the then chief executive, the noble Lord, Lord Kerslake—I am not sure whether he will raise that—then as chair of scrutiny, holding the executive to account, and then having the great pleasure of leading that great city and that great council. I was then put on early retirement when I lost my seat and am now back again as a local councillor. I saw the power that local authorities can have to affect individuals and communities and make a real difference to people’s ability to succeed in their life.

That is what the situation should do, but we must look at what it has now become in many cases. Sadly, in some cases local authorities have not just become the provider of last resort but are struggling to be even that—we only have to look at Northamptonshire, Somerset, Norfolk and Lancashire County Councils, and the National Audit Office warning that reserves are running out. In some cases they are not just unable to provide the opportunities that I talked about but are unable to provide the very statutory services that they are there to provide in an emergency as a safety net.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 21st Jul - 6:22pm
    @David Evans @Tim13 It is because the Government has over a period of decades (beginning with Thatcher) funded more and more of Local Government spending...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 21st Jul - 5:54pm
    The tone of this thread has got a bit negative which seems odd when we are doing much better than we have for Years, since...
  • User Avatarsiv white 21st Jul - 5:09pm
    Good luck, Jane. I was looking for your donation address. A good campaign is essential, like that of Lee Howgate now Lib Dem councillor in...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 21st Jul - 5:09pm
    @Michael BG It’s KestevEn, by the way. If you were referring to the candidate, who got elected, was a choice made largely out of desperation,...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jul - 4:52pm
    @ Michael BG I respect your views on the need to tackle poverty Michael, and I'm sorry you didn't make it to the SLF Conference...
  • User AvatarTim13 21st Jul - 4:47pm
    John Marriott Just add: ...and west of Reading to your last sentence! I agree with David Evans and disagree profoundly with Laurence Cox. There MUST...
Sun 21st Jul 2019
Sun 28th Jul 2019
Thu 1st Aug 2019
Sun 4th Aug 2019
Sun 18th Aug 2019