Independent Group Leader's Bulletin 18 October 2019

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

18 October 2019


Dear friends and colleagues,

The Queen’s Speech, laying out the work schedule for the next term of legislation, has brought devolution back on the agenda, and Leicestershire seems set to start having announced proposals for a combined authority. The Independent Group has long called for devolution of power and money to our councils own chosen structures, not newly created ones that are imposed by Westminster and further from the people. This is especially important now as we seek return of the £8.4 billion EU funds and setting up a UK Prosperity Fund for local authorities, so far agreed in principle.

We also received confirmation that the Government will finally bring proposals to secure long-term funding for adult social care, details awaited, but not for the increasing numbers of children in our care.

The problem of council's funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has been recognised with additional funding, though it is not clear yet if this is top-sliced from the schools budget.

We have welcomed the two bills that are going through alongside Brexit; for the Environment and further addressing domestic abuse.

We are now calling for a long term settlement that gives local government the powers, funding and certainty to transform our areas for the better. This is outlined in detail in our document #Councilscan, which some of our members are using as a basis for a motion to council.

At our well attended regional conference at Saffron Walden last week, a motion on this call was shared. We also discussed actions councils can take on reducing climate breakdown and how our Local Plans might now be changed.

For many of our members, the hottest issue after Brexit and linked to climate change, is being expected to encourage the development of very large numbers of housing, in many areas not being matched to local needs and stretching public services beyond repair, covered in last week's bulletin. Central Bedfordshire, led by the LGA’s Chairman, has just had their Local Plan rejected for the second time. South Oxfordshire's unpopular Local Plan has been stopped by the Minister. The LGA Planning Advisory Service is useful and available to members.

Independent Group members have caught the public interest in their resident-based approach to planning. I am speaking at the Planning for Housing conference in November and would appreciate any anecdotal evidence you have where planning was a key election issue or where it continues to be a matter you are working on, with your residents.

Many thanks and 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

Dates for the diary

LGA Independent Group Annual Conference

Join us on 8 November for our annual group conference. Hear from experts, take part in skills workshops, debate the key issues affecting councils and network with Independent, Green and smaller party councillors from across the country. This event is free for members to attend and includes lunch and a drinks reception.

Register your attendance here.

Information and Development Seminars

Join us in London or via video conference to take part in our next workshop on budget setting, on 6 December, 11am-1pm.

Regional meetings

Our autumn regional meetings begin soon, open to current members and prospective councillors within our membership. Led by our regional chairs and regional peers, these events are regionally focused and include discussion on the key issues affecting our members.

Dates already confirmed are as follows:

  • 24 October – Stockton
  • 28 October – Taunton
  • 21 November – Manchester

To find out more or to RSVP to any of our events please email