Group Leader's Bulletin 19 July 2019

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

19 July 2019


Good afternoon all,

I hope you are well and getting your councils organised nicely! Following the LGA AGM at the conference, this has been a week of meetings, getting plans in place for the coming year and doing what we can with ministers at this uncertain time.

Independent Group

Our Group Executive met this week and appointed a full slate of representatives to serve us on the LGA Policy Boards. We have worked to ensure we have skilled representatives who will do the best possible job for us and also reflect a balance that is representative of the party political make-up of our group,  geographically representative of all our regions, type of council, mix of age groups and gender. If you are not already on a think tank to engage with our lead members, then now is the time to let the office know which areas of work you can contribute best to. The annual report shows the huge amount of work our Board members undertook last year - very impressive indeed!

We welcomed our newly elected Treasurer, Paul Woodhead and thanked Alan Seldon who is stepping down, now busier than ever as his Independent group coalition has taken control at Herefordshire Unitary Council.

Carla Denyer receiving LGA Independent Group Clarence Barrett Award

Pictured above is Bristol Green Party’s Cllr Carla Denyer receiving the first LGA Independent Group Clarence Barrett Award for outstanding achievement in 2018-19, for her work on the Climate Emergency motion which has been carried forward by councils everywhere.


Thanks for all your good work in our communities, in the administration on 68 councils with many elected for the first time, and in discovering how to make things work effectively in our councils. There is some excellent training available through the group office that will make a difference for you. Taking the time to reflect and consider is, in itself, enormously useful. For more information, please email 

LGA Working with Ministers

You may have watched the TV debates on the Hunt vs. Boris Battle aimed at Conservative Party followers who will choose our Prime Minister, and with the vote closing on 22 July we’ll soon know.

  • The LGA continues to seek clarity as to what local authorities need to prepare for the UK’s exit from the European Union, such as councils’ own capacity and resources to manage such a significant change programme on top of existing demands.
  • The importance of resolving outstanding issues such as the cost and challenges faced by local authorities with their planning for a No Deal scenario, was emphasised to the Brexit Minister, Kwasi Karteng, as he came to speak at the LGA Councillor’s Forum.
  • It is absolutely essential the Government be aware of the immense challenge faced by councils needing to plan ahead face of uncertainty.
  • While the PM candidates are making promises on increased spend, the income projection is looking less promising, according to Mark Carney (more below).

Address the £8 billion funding gap councils face by 2025

The Spending Review has been delayed so councils will not know how much money we have to spend until later this year. Will more cuts be required and people made redundant? The Executive met this week to hammer out the LGA cross-party strategy to increase funding to councils, seeking to address the £8 billion funding gap councils face by 2025.

Following our LGA climate declaration

The LGA Group Leaders and Executive decided this week to set up a cross-party working group to establish the LGA action plan in response to the motion passed at the AGM earlier this month.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove made a keynote speech at Kew this week on his Environment Bill, to be published later this year. He says that he aims to set the world’s first legally-binding commitment to comprehensive environmental improvement in four areas; improving air quality, water management, waste reduction and wildlife revival. Interesting to see included incentives “to create more carbon sinks - many more trees, healthier peatland and more organic content in our soils.”

Well worth a look!


At the LGA AGM, many of you commented on Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney’s excellent speech talking about a sea change in our economy. He includes impacts of Brexit, Trump’s trade war and an underlying slowdown with, for example, $13 trillion in bonds losing value. Business confidence is down though households are still optimistic about their own prospects . The economy cannot keep growing indefinitely. The levers used by the bank to control the inflation at 2 per cent, are tougher to operate. An interesting read!

Kind regards,

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE
Leader of the Independent Group
Vice Chair of the Local Government Association

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE