Independent Group Leader's Bulletin 26 July 2019

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

26 July 2019


Good Afternoon Colleagues!

Two big issues this week, the new government and the Environment Bill.

Changing Politics

Our new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, launched his term of office with a promise of a “golden future”, a land where we are not just “great”, but “the greatest” in all aspects, including local council services such as adult care and education. He defended tax reductions to big business, who “support his party”, indicating that their tax is needed.

Although Boris voted for the backstop previously, he was clear in the need for border “arrangements” around Northern Ireland at the same time, keeping the whole of the nation out of the customs union. There’s a familiar dilemma. He has taken up the call for a points-based immigration system. Perhaps most generous of all, was his promise of no adverse impact on our precious planet.

Love him or hate him, Boris takes the reins at a critical time. His choices will shape our nation and our planet. Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak MP who we know well, are in the Treasury and Jake Berry and Esther McVey will work with us closely in Local Government. There is good common ground on health and social care, the environment and local services. We are working hard at the LGA to make our case for the funding and powers we need. Feel free to add your voice in your local press!

Link to Cabinet line-up of 33, a quarter women:

The Environment

Just before Boris, Michael Gove of DEFRA made an important statement on behalf of the government, announcing the contents of new legislation in the Environment Bill. This follows a consultation, where we held a workshop on waste, I spoke at the District Council network on the subject, listened at our conferences and we have an active think tank supporting our members on the Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board. Thank you for your contributions that were included through our board. It has been a very concerted effort with some success.

Thankfully, Government has rowed back on unfunded mandatory garden waste collections, meaning we can currently continue to charge for this service. They are also giving local flexibility on compulsory food waste collections and on separate collections of materials for recycling. We support moves to a clearly defined core set of recyclable materials, provided it is fully funded, as well as further work on how funding from packaging producers and retailers will be allocated to councils. Manufacturers need to use packaging that is fully and easily recyclable, to label it correctly and to pay the full cost of recycling packaging. In particular, our group members called for a well thought out deposit scheme – we continue to work with government to ensure this supports, rather than hinders, local government recycling.

On any development, a mandatory 10% gain in biodiversity is proposed, creating a fund for off- site provision. However, the overall viability limitation of funding for public benefit from developments remains in place, suggesting that there will be less available for other needs, unless the allowed developer profit margin is reduced.

You can read the Government Statement from Michael Gove, responding to our comments here.

You may also find it useful to utilise the revised National Planning Policy Framework - a critical tool for us all to use.

Appointments – Fire

Having made the bulk of our appointments we are still looking for full members on a Fire Authority to join the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee and Fire Commission. If you are on your fire authority and would like to get more involved with the work happening nationally, around post-Grenfell commitments and the future role of fire fighters, please get in touch with

Your thoughts

A quick reminder of the work being undertaken by academics at Suffolk University, interested in the success Independents had in the May elections. Please take a few minutes to complete a short survey, which will help them and use promote the success and diversity of our members and encourage prospective Councillors to get involed.

Summer recess

This is my last weekly bulletin before the August holiday, though we shall still keep in touch with you, of course. We are planning a lot of exciting events from September onwards, as always your ideas are very welcome.

A huge thank you for your support and the excellent work you are doing in our communities and our councils.

All our Independent Lead members, Executive members and our office staff wish to send you good wishes in all that you do and hope you enjoy a pleasant and refreshing break.

Kind regards

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature
Councillor Marianne Overton MBE

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