Report back from Annual Conference – and news from LGA Labour Group

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2 October 2018

Nick Forbes

News from the Leader of the LGA Labour Group

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Report from Annual Conference – Cllr Nick Forbes

Dear colleague,

Thank you to all Labour councillors who attended this year’s Annual Conference in Liverpool – it was great to see so many Labour councillors there, and there was standing room only at all of the local government events that were put on. In many ways it was the most positive Labour Conference for some years – with an atmosphere of excitement and a feeling of unity. I spoke to hundreds of you at Conference, and there was a clear message from all in local government that we should be united in saying that enough is enough, and that the Tory cuts to local government must end.

Indeed unlike last year, when some Labour councils has been unfairly attacked by a minority of delegates, this year there seemed to be a much better understanding amongst all members that the blame for council cuts lies solely with the Tory government. Given that Labour in local government have been warning of the catastrophic cumulative effects of austerity for almost a decade, it is good to see that our messages are hitting home. Jeremy Corbyn made a special mention, saying that ‘It is Labour councils and only Labour councils that are taking every step to protect people and services and we must thank them for it’.

Our fire must be directed at the Tory government – and I will ensure that every Labour councillor is given the chance to show how they are fighting back against the appalling damage that the Tories are causing to their own community, and the disaster that will be caused if they press ahead with further cuts, by developing a broad-based and non-factional campaign. Alongside this, we must ensure that our own Labour frontbench understands the scale of investment that local government requires if the damage of austerity to be undone, and if we are to play the important role necessary to deliver our 2017 manifesto. LGA Labour’s radical manifesto for local government ‘On Day One’ has played a key role, and we will continue to lead this work to ensure that the next Labour government gives councils the freedom and funding we need.

Thank you also for the many kind words and messages about our work to influence the outcome of the Democracy Review. This past year has seen too much of our time and resource diverted towards dealing with this, but thankfully it has paid off - at least in the short term. Prior to Conference the NEC recognised that many of the proposed changes proposed to local government would be deeply unhelpful and damaging and withdrew the rule changes, instead agreeing to carry out a wider local government review with formal input from the ALC and from LGA Labour, recognising our mandate as the elected voice of Labour in local government. We will work to ensure that this review is positive, and does not lead to Labour councillors being diverted away from their key task of protecting communities.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend Conference, you may be interested in reading our ‘Key Messages for Labour in Local Government’ briefing, as well as our overall Local Government Funding briefing. We also produced briefings for each of the plenary debates: Party Democracy and Campaigning; Public Investment and Ownership; Social Security and Skills; Brexit and the Economy; and Tackling Inequalities. And if you have any feedback for me, either as Labour’s leader in local government or in my role as one of your two NEC representatives, then you can of course always email me at

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Nick Forbes
Leader, LGA Labour Group
Leader, Newcastle City Council

News from local Labour

Labour take back control of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council from the Conservatives

Experiences of homelessness: an interview with Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan

Blackpool Council to fight bid to reduce fracking drill rig scrutiny 

Croydon Borough Council are working with an arts education charity to help promote healthy relationships and prevent youth violence and domestic abuse 

Southampton City Council shortlisted to receive a share of £840m transport fund

News from the Labour Party

Research shows cuts causing enormous deficits and overspends in local government – Andrew Gwynne MP

May’s refusal to apologise for her hostile environment policy on Marr show is disgusting – Diane Abbott MP

John Healey MP responds to James Brokenshire’s speech

The Chancellor’s speech confirmed the bankrupt state of the Tory party – John McDonnell MP

Rebecca Long Bailey MP commenting on the Government’s proposal to stop employers making deductions from workers’ tips

LGBT Labour Councillors Network

Thank you to all those who came to our drop in session for LGBT councillors at #Lab18 – it was great to have so many councillors come to share their ideas for the network.

If you were not able to join us at Conference and would like to be involved, or just kept up to date, please email to be added to our confidential LGBT Labour Councillors Network mailing list.

News from Wales

Cardiff Council Leader backs a People's Vote - with option to remain in the EU

Leader of Newport Council and the Welsh Local Government Association, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, was the opening speaker at Labour National Women’s Conference 2018

News from the LGA

LGA responds to taxi licensing report

Half of businesses not displaying food hygiene ratings - councils call for law change

LGA responds to latest school spending stats

LGA responds to Healthwatch England report on social care and carers

LGA responds to survey by BASHH and BHIVA on sexual health services

LGA responds to apprenticeship levy announcement at Conservative Conference

LGA responds to combustible cladding ban

Local services face further £1.3 billion government funding cut in 2019/20

Opposition Watch

Conservative London Mayor candidate embroiled in new Sadiq Khan Islamophobia row

Conservative run London Borough of Barnet has come under fire after a report revealed how it failed to stop a contractor from stealing £2m from it

Independent Councillor admits making abusive remarks about Diane Abbott on Facebook 

UKIP leader stands by councillor in wake of homophobic comments

Labour Party Statutory Youth Service Consultation

The Labour Party’s consultation into the provision of a statutory youth service is ongoing and will close in mid-November. The consultation looks at how this should be delivered, what it should deliver and how it should be funded. You can read the consultation documents here. Local authorities play a key role in delivering youth services, so it is important that Labour in local government has a strong voice in this consultation. The LGA Labour Group will be making a submission to this consultation, and we would welcome any input from Labour councillors. Please email with any thoughts. If your Labour Group would like to make a submission then we would encourage you to do so.

National Education Union launches councillor network

The National Education Union recently launched a local councillor network and held a successful first ever councillor event in London on 3 July 2018.

During the conference period NEU have been speaking to and handing out their latest councillor briefing document on school funding, which has been warmly received with great interest.To coincide with the conference season NEU have created a dedicated webpage for councillors and this includes a sign up page which is available here. 

Joining this network will give you access to:

  • Written briefings.
  • Regular information about education issues.
  • Our events for councillors 

This network is for councillors from all political parties and councillors can get in touch via:

Councillors' Census

If you are an elected member in England, you should have received an email inviting you to take part in the 2018 Councillor Census.

Thank you very much if you have already responded. If you haven't, we would be really grateful if you could respond, as the findings inform the LGA's practical support to authorities and councillors, and are of real use to central and local government and political parties in the development of strategies and policies.

Given the scale of support from councillors, past surveys have provided the most comprehensive, timely overviews of local government representation and how that has changed over time. The deadline for responses has been extended to Monday 8 October. For more information or if you have any problems accessing the survey, please email


By-elections held on 27th September:

Lichfield DC, Stowe
Con 499 [44.1%; -9.8%]
Lab 440 [38.9%; +11.9%]
LD 193 [17.0%; +17.0%]
[Green 0 [0.0%; -19.1%]]
Con hold

Salford MB, Eccle
Lab 1071 [54.6%; -5.8%]
Con 474 [24.1%; +2.1%]
LD 156 [7.9%; +2.1%]
Green 123 [6.3%; -0.1%]
UKIP 100 [5.1%; +0.5%]
WEP 39 [2.0%; +2.0%]
[Ind 0 [0.0%; -0.8%]
Labour hold

Nottingham UA, Clifton North
Con 1311 [47.7%; +11.9%]
Lab 928 [33.8%; -4.4%]
Ind 307 [11.2%; +11.2%]
LD 92 [3.3%; +3.3%]
Green 64 [2.3%; +2.3%]
Bus Pass Elvis 46 [1.7%; +1.7%]
[UKIP 0 [0.0%; -21.5%]]
[Ind 0 [0.0%; -4.4%]]
Conservative gain from Labour

By-elections on 4th October:

Chesterfield BC, Moor
Cambridgeshire CC, Soham North and Isleham
Hambleton DC, Thirsk – 4th October 2018