News from the Leader of the LGA Labour Group – 30 October 2018

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30 October 2018

News from the Leader of the LGA Labour Group

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Nick Forbes

Cllr Nick Forbes
Leader of the LGA Labour Group

What the Budget means for local government

The Chancellor yesterday gave the last Budget statement before Brexit – but there was very little for local government to cheer. The main measures in relation to local government were:

  • Continuation of this year’s £240m for adult social care to deal with winter pressures in 2019/20, and £410m extra for adult and children’s social care in 2019/20 (but combined funding gap for adult and children’s social care in 2019/20 is £2.6 billion, so less than a quarter of what is needed!
  • £84m over five years for up to 20 local authorities to help more children stay out of care – a desperately small amount of money when more than 90 children a day are being taken into care
  • So overall, with no change to the planned £1.3bn cut to councils in 2019/20, there is still a CUT of £650m to councils for 2019/20 even after the extra £650m for social care is considered
  • £420m for local authorities to spend on filling the potholes that have largely been created by a decade of Tory austerity
  • Better news was the immediate lifting of the HRA cap which should allow councils to build 10,000 homes a year, though other measures are still needed to truly kick-start a renaissance in council house building

As Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of the LGA Labour Group, commented on Twitter: “The Government is still planning cuts of £1.3bn to councils next year. £650m for ASC goes no-where near the £2bn needed to stabilise the system, and is still a net cut to local govt. 'Austerity is over' was a fat lie.”

Parental leave for councillors

Earlier this year, Cllr Lib Peck, Deputy Leader of the LGA Labour Group set up the LGA Labour Women’s Taskforce to look at the barriers that women in local government face. One of the first pieces of work that this group has done is to produce a model parental leave policy to show that this is an important issue that deserves leadership. As of 2017, only 4 per cent of councils in England and Wales had a parental leave policy for councillors in place, and many councillors across the country have said how it would have made it easier for them after the birth or adoption of their child if their council had a parental leave policy in place. A number of councils currently make informal arrangements for parental leave.

The parental leave policy covers all councillors, makes provision for those receiving SRAs, and covers birth and adoption. It is an entitlement and councillors do not have to take the full amount of leave, but the Women’s Taskforce feels that it is right, and in line with our Labour values, to ensure that there is a common standard of parental leave available to Labour councillors.

We have written two policies – one for Labour Groups, and one for councils. We have also written model motions to accompany them, and we would encourage people to amend these to make them locally appropriate. You can find both of the policies and the model motions here. You can read Cllr Lib Peck’s piece for LabourList about why we need parental leave for councillors here, and the experiences of two councillors who juggled council responsibilities and young babies here and here.

Please do ask your Labour Group and council to implement these policies – and please let us know how you get on! If you’ve got any questions, or if you want to tell us that your Labour Group or council has implemented a parental leave policy, please email

Save the date: Labour Local Government Conference 2019

Please save the date of next year’s Labour Local Government Conference 2019 in your diary! It will take place at The Slate, Warwick University. The details are:

Friday 8 February 2019, 7.30-10.30pm
Drinks reception and dinner

Saturday 9 February 2019, 9.30am -5pm
Labour Local Government Conference

Run jointly by the Association of Labour Councillors (ALC) and the LGA Labour Group, the event is an opportunity for the Labour local government family to meet and hear from keynote speakers, and to debate policies, discuss campaigning ideas, and attend training relevant to Labour councillors. We will be advertising details of how to book your place soon including how to book accommodation, but for now please save the date.

News from Local Labour

Corby is investing millions in sports amenities, shops, council buildings, play areas and parks as the council goes on a spending spree ahead of its abolition in 2020

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced plans to fund councils to build thousands of new council homes across London – with Ealing alone set to build 1138

Dudley Council staff given tips on how to spot modern slavery

Richard Watts, the leader of Islington Council, wrote to the Chancellor urging him to use the Budget to give local people, businesses and communities the support needed to help make the borough a fairer place for all

Roads around primary schools in Liverpool could be closed to traffic at the start and end of the school day to address air pollution concerns

Lewisham council pledges to resettle 100 more Syrian refugee families

Even if austerity is ‘over’, it will be a long road to prosperity for Wigan – interview with co-chair of Labour Friends of Local Government Jo Platt MP

News from Wales

Council leaders have complained to First Minister Carwyn Jones after they were branded ‘Oliver Twists’ by the local government secretary

Powys Labour Group leader says the UK government is to blame for austerity in Welsh councils

News from the Labour Party

We now have it confirmed that the pledge to end austerity was a broken promise, like the whole budget – John McDonnell

It is utterly insulting to parents and teachers for the Chancellor to talk about “little extras” when school budgets have been cut by billions – Angela Rayner

This Budget offers only a short-term sticking plaster to stave off catastrophic collapse in social care

Tom Watson responds to proposed digital services tax

Labour warns of a “national emergency” facing children’s services

Next Labour Together event: Culture Wars: How has identity politics been both constructing and challenging for the left?

31 October, 6pm, Room U, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament

Labour Together's ‘Get Togethers’ are a series of monthly sessions bringing together Labour MPs, councillors, activists and academics from across the Labour movement to explore new ideas and thinking on the future of the left. 

This session will be a chance to explore the impact of identity and culture wars on the politics of the left. In an age of increasing polarisation and with the shockwaves of Trump and Brexit, culture wars are becoming a bigger part of politics. How can the left create a politics which can build bridges across increasingly polarised groups? What is the impact of identity politics? How has it had both a challenging and constructive impact on the politics of the left?

On 31 October, we’ll be hearing from Shabana Mahmood MP and Ben Cobley, author of The Tribe: the liberal-left and the system of diversity and founder of A Free Left Blog which both explore the power of identity politics in shaping politics in contemporary Britain. They will also be joined by Stephen Bush, special correspondent at the New Statesman.

The session should last just under 60 minutes. If you would be interested in coming along, please RSVP to

News from the LGA

LGA responds to Budget 2018

Potential £320 billion windfall from new generation of high quality social housing

LGA: Biggest increase in children on child protection plans in four years

Majority of people unprepared for adult social care costs

Future of maintained nurseries and support for children with special needs at risk - LGA survey

Opposition Watch

York Tory Cabinet member resigns post after ‘failing to answer basic questions

Tory Walsall council leader says ‘never, ever believe what you hear from central government, austerity is not over

By elections

By-elections held on 25 October

Basingstoke and Deane BC, Norden
Lab 925 [68.2%; +2.6%]
Con 288 [21.2%; -2.5%]
Ind 80 [5.9%; +3.9%]
LD 64 [4.7%; -0.2%]
Lab Hold

Suffolk CC, Bosmere
Con 747 [45.5%; -0.5%]
LD 726 [44.2%; +5.4%]
Lab 168 [10.2%; +2.4%]
Con Hold

Ashford BC, Kennington
Con 247 [41.5%; -6.7%]
Lab 85 [14.3%; +1.8%]
Green 36 [6.1%; +6.1%]
Ind 227 [38.2%; +23.1%]
Con Hold

Mendip DC, Wells St. Thomas
LD 594 [48.8%; +4.6%]
Con 493 [40.5%; +5.2%]
Lab 131 [10.8%, +10.8%]
LD Gain from Con

Hertfordshire CC, Three Rivers Rural
LD 1846 [53.4%; +9.5%]
Con 1315 [38.0%; -9.0%]
Lab 144 [4.2%; -0.1%]
Green 68 [2.0%; -1.1%]
UKIP 86 [2.5%; +0.6%]
LD Gain from Con

Sutton LB, Belmont
Con 1328 [46.7%; -9.6%]
LD 1069 [37.6%; +10.7%]
Lab 303 [10.7%; -6.1%]
Green 63 [2.2%; + 2.2%]
UKIP 50 [1.8%; +1.8%]
CPA 30 [1.1%; +1.1%]
Con Hold

Wells City Council, Wells St. Thomas
LD 605 [49.5%; +24.5%]
Con 489 [40.0%; +20.9%]
Lab 128 [10.5%; +10.5%]
LD Gain from Con

Dorset CC, Ferndown
Con 1878 [61.3%; -5.4%]
Lib Dem 647 [21.1%; +10.2%]
UKIP 540 [17.6%: 0.5%]
Con Hold

East Dorset DC, Ferndown Central
Con 899 [59.9%; +4%]
LD 355 [23.7%; 23.7%]
UKIP 246 [16.4%; -11.9%]
Con Hold

South Derbyshire DC, Linton
Con 623 [62.5%; +23.8%]
Lab 326 [32.7%; +2.8%]
LD 48 [4.8%; +0.7%]
Con Hold

By-elections on 1 November:
Kirklees MB, Denby Dale
South Gloucestershire UA, Dodington
Newham LB, Boleyn