Independent Group Leader's Bulletin: 20 November 2020

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

20 November 2020


Dear Colleagues,

Many of us are getting things in place ready for elections next May, not side-tracked by rumours! We need to be ready. You may be standing or helping others, which always helps in the long run. It is important to show just how much our members are doing in our communities and in our councils, raising the value and recognition of colleagues who share our values. Politics is about influencing thinking for the good of the whole. Independent Group members are at the heart of the kind of politics where we listen to residents, look at the facts and act for the future. That’s how we get elected!

Resident satisfaction polling  

You will be glad to know that resident confidence in you as a councillor remains high. The LGA’s latest October/November polling of a thousand residents shows that public trust in you remains high’ Three quarters of residents singled out local councillors as the individuals most trusted to make decisions about how local services are provided. Two thirds (68 per cent) of people are satisfied with the way their local council runs things, 64 per cent trust it and 64 per cent feel they are kept informed by the services and benefits it provides. Our detailed report gives a full breakdown of the results. In addition, 64 per cent of people think local government is best placed to decide on what restrictions are needed to control coronavirus in their local area, and 58 per cent believe councils should be responsible for contact tracing. Local councils are tracing the most complex cases with over 90 per cent success, far in excess of the central government tracing.

Be a Councillor

6-7.30pm on Thursday 10 December via Zoom

Have you got some future Independent group councillors you want to encourage? This event will include a brief introductory presentation on the basics followed by a panel of independent group members who will introduce themselves and their experiences then answer questions from prospective candidates in a Q&A session. If you know of anybody in your local area who is interested in running as an independent candidate, please let them know about the event. If they would like to attend, they can register by emailing with their name and local authority area. We are still looking for BAME Champions, so do please get in touch if you would like to get more involved in our Be a Cllr work.


Our friends at 50:50 Parliament have their annual Ask Her To Stand Day on Saturday 21 November. Please do support on social media if you can.

Spending Review

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is announcing next Wednesday how much money is coming to our councils for next year. It is the right time to lobby your MPs ahead of the announcement, please do. We’ve worked hard to make the case clear as to just how damaging it will be to have to make cuts right when our residents need us most. Our case is clear: Councils will face a £4 billion funding gap next year just to keep services running at today’s levels. We need urgent certainty about how to set budgets and to plan any measures we may be forced to take to cut spending. You can see the latest impact of COVID on local authorities on the MHCLG website.

We are disappointed the three-year settlement has been dropped to a one year. We also have mixed reports on how well this will go for local government and are disappointed that we will now only get a one year settlement, having hoped for more

Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution

The Ten Point Plan is part of the Prime Minister’s mission to level up across the country using £12 billion to create up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030. It includes more wind turbines, nuclear and hydrogen power and electric charging points, industrial extraction of CO2 from the air and planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year. With 343 councils, that is about 87 hectares every year in every council area. Along with 300,000 dwellings planted every year, and land for industry, we may soon be running short of space to grow food. Further, £582 million in grants helps people throw out their old and buy a new low-emission vehicles. A very useful grant is the £1bn to make buildings more efficient, but it is available to new dwellings as well, which seems unnecessary. Let’s hope some of it works. ‘Greener maritime’ is the £20 million competition for clean maritime technology at sites including Teeside and the Orkneys.

The Welsh Government announced their new transport Strategy at the same time, open for comment until 25 January 2021.

UCLG meeting

Local government of the world met this week, with representatives attending to discuss how best to shape the future, covering sections we know well, such as connectivity, prosperity, caring, renaturing and democracy. It is the start of a two year project to share ideas and bring together a cohesive force for good and create a book called Gold VI.

Social housing announcement

The LGA welcomed the announcement to give social tenants a greater voice, regardless of their tenancy. There is also tougher housing regulator to ensure high standards from landlords  and a strengthened Housing Ombudsman to speed up the handling of complaints. 

Wales update

On leaving the EU, the Welsh Government has published their Framework for Regional Investment for Wales and a written statement. Coronavirus information is here. Guidance for students is here and a written statement about how the vaccine will be deployed.

Christmas Social

Christmas is fast approaching and after the success of our conference social events we would like to invite you to an LGA Independent Group Christmas Social, being organised by Cllrs Hannah Dalton and Sarah Rouse, which is taking place from 6pm on Friday 4th December. You will need to bring along your own Christmas drinks and cheer, but there will be fun, games and a quiz (which we’re promised will be very easy!). If you would like to attend please email and title the email ‘Christmas Social’.

Best wishes to you all. I look forward to seeing you soon.

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