LGA Conservative Group bulletin – 20 July 2020

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local government association - conservative group

LGA Conservative Group bulletin

20 July 2020


Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the LGA Conservative Group’s weekly email newsletter. Its purpose is to highlight the latest information associated with COVID-19, which I hope will be useful to you and your council.

In May, the Government announced the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund to support small and micro businesses and charities that fell outside the scope of existing COVID-19 grant schemes.

This represented an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion in funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund.

Councils were asked to use their local knowledge to distribute the grants whilst, wherever possible, prioritising small businesses in shared offices, market traders, bed and breakfasts, and charities.

Councils have faced challenges deciding which businesses to support since applications have been greater than the funding available. Moreover, councils are expected to use any underutilised funds from the original grants schemes before accessing these additional resources.

I am keen to hear your views about how this scheme has operated. I am particularly interested to hear if you have had any problems allocating the grants and how much you have been able to issue so far.

On another note, I was delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, to our Conservative Group meeting last Thursday. Gavin thanked councils for their role in ensuring that schools were kept open for vulnerable children and those of key workers. He also answered delegates questions, covering a range of issues including Special Educational Needs, the role of Ofsted, home to school transport and many more.

Finally, just a reminder that we are holding a series of webinars this month. The first, covering English Devolution, will take place on the 21st July (11:00am to 12:00pm) with Simon Clarke, followed by 'Green Recovery Post Covid-19' on the 27th July (1pm to 2pm) with Megan Trethewey from the Conservative Environment Network, followed by 'The Future of Care Homes' on 28th July (11:00am to 12:00pm) with David Pearson CBE. Please email us for more information if you wish to attend any of these meetings.

As always, if there is anything I or our regional lead peers – about whom you can find more information at the bottom of this email - can do to assist, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes,

Councillor Izzi Seccombe signature

Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE
Leader, LGA Conservative Group

Councillor Izzi Seccombe


For all the latest news from the LGA Conservative Group please follow us on Twitter at @LGACons

If you’d also like to subscribe to the LGA’s monthly e-bulletin of First Magazine, please visit the dedicated website.

Reopening playgrounds and outdoor gyms

The Government has published guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms.

Cultural heritage

The Government has announced changes to the planning system in order to protect theatres, concert halls and other live music performance venues.

Department for Education guidance 

The Department for Education has shared updated guidance on protective measures for providers of community activities, holiday or after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings offering provision to children during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Contact Tracing, Testing and Outbreak Management Webinars

A series of webinars on Contact Tracing, Testing, and Outbreak Management are taking place this week. Further details, including on key speakers, can be found via these links:

Outbreak Management: Food Processing - Experiences, Lessons Learned, and the Role of the HSE. 22 July 2020, 2.30pm - 4.00pm

Testing Prototypes, Communications and Engagement. 23rd July, 10:30 – 12:00

Resilience of May 2021 polls

In the context of the disruption caused by Covid-19, the Cabinet Office is working with partners and the electoral community to ensure the resilience of May 2021 polls.

One of the areas they are looking at is the possible impact on candidates and campaigners.

They are looking for an insight into the challenges of running as a candidate in the May 2021 polls and possible solutions to these challenges.

If you have any thoughts that you wish to feed into the process particularly about candidate nominations and campaigning, please could you email lgaconservatives@local.gov.uk by Friday 24th July. 

LGA Public Health Webinars

The LGA will host series of public health webinars in July:

Tackling obesity during the COVID-19 pandemic, Monday 20th July, 2:30pm - 4:00pm

Reset, not restart: shaping the future of social care in light of COVID-19, Monday 27 July 2020, 2.30pm - 4.00pm

Alcohol and COVID-19: tackling problem drinking after lockdown, Monday 27th July, 10.30am - 12.00pm 

To find out more about these and other events, please visit the LGA website.

Conservative Regional Lead Peers

The regional lead peers and the areas they cover are as follows:

  • Lord Porter of Spalding CBE - National Lead Peer & Regional Lead Peer for the South East
  • Cllr Paul Middlebrough - Regional Lead Peer for the South West, Hampshire and Isle of Wight
  • Cllr William Nunn - Regional Lead Peer for the East of England
  • Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE - Regional Lead Peer for London
  • Cllr Glen Sanderson JP - Regional Lead Peer for the East Midlands, North East and Yorkshire & Humber
  • Councillor Mike Wilcox - Regional Lead Peer for the West Midlands and North West.