LGA Conservative Group bulletin – 8 March 2021

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local government association - conservative group

LGA Conservative Group bulletin

8 March 2021


Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the LGA Conservative Group's newsletter, in which we highlight the latest information associated with COVID-19 and other topical issues.

As we start to enter the recovery phase, the reopening of high streets and the hospitality sector will play an important role in boosting the economy locally and nationally.

As such, it is enormously helpful that our Government is providing a new £5 billion Restart Grants scheme to these businesses to help them re-open their doors safely. I am particularly pleased to hear that councils will be tasked with distributing the grants and support their local businesses most at risk.

Last Wednesday in the Budget, the Chancellor extended his commitment of Government support to a number of areas such as furlough, self-employed schemes and universal credit uplift until the end of September.

He also made a number of positive announcements of interest to local government, including:

  • Launching £150 million Community Ownership Fund and opening the first round of bids for the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund – a remarkable way to help councils invest in their communities
  • Providing £1.6 billion for the vaccine rollout
  • £700 million to support arts, culture and sports sectors
  • £126 million funding for traineeships and apprenticeships

I would like to thank the Chancellor for providing the above funding and trusting councils with the delivery of some of these schemes, as well as our Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, and his MHCLG Ministerial team for making the case for additional funding for local government in Cabinet discussions in the run-up to the Budget.

This Budget, like the Local Government Finance Settlement, is very much defined by the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact, and the Government is rightly prioritising support to people and businesses during these challenging times and focusing on building the economy post Covid.

On a slightly different note, there are some concerns about the Brazilian coronavirus variant which has recently been identified in the UK. Working closely with councils, the Government is currently taking necessary actions and testing everyone in the targeted areas. Nevertheless, it is essential to be extra vigilant as it appears the new variant can spread more easily. As we gradually return to our normal way of life, we must keep each other safe.

Finally, happy International Women’s Day to all my incredible female colleagues. You empower and inspire a new generation of leaders and I would like to thank you for all that you do.

If there is anything I or our regional lead peers can do to assist, please do not hesitate to contact us.

You can find more details about our lead peers at the bottom of this newsletter.

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.

Request for information

 The Conservative Councillors' Association is looking for good case studies from Conservative-run councils who have benefitted from the Winter Grant Scheme. If you are happy to share your story, please email cca@conservatives.com.

Election campaigning guidance

The Cabinet Office has published guidance on campaigning from 8 and 29 March and other related activities. The guidance confirms that leafletting and campaigning is not allowed until 8 March, after which physical campaigning will be allowed with certain mitigations in place.

The Net Zero Innovation Programme

In collaboration between the LGA and UCL, the Net Zero Innovation Network brings together local authorities, universities and other stakeholders to address climate challenges at the local level. As part of the Network's programme of activities, the LGA has organised a one-hour seminar on March 23 exploring how we can best work with local stakeholders to achieve action on climate change.

Local Elections 2021 – Webinar

Following the publication of Cabinet Office guidance on campaigning during the pandemic, the LGA has secured a Cabinet Office speaker for our event for candidates standing at the local elections on the March 12. Paul Docker, Cabinet Office Head of Electoral Administration, will speak alongside representatives from the Electoral Commission and three Scottish councillors who campaigned for election during Autumn 2020. Those interested in attending this free event can book through the LGA webpage for the election event.

A message from 'Silver Sunday' Charity

Silver Sunday, the national day for older people, will take place on Sunday 3 October 2021. Councils/councillors are encouraged to take part by:

  • hosting events for older people on or around this date
  • encouraging businesses, charities, and community groups in your local area to get behind Silver Sunday and organise or host events. 

Silver Sunday was started as a response to social isolation and loneliness among our older population. The aim was to galvanise community action to do something about it. It is now a national day where everyone can come together by hosting fun and free events for older people around the country: a day where older people can meet new people, visit new places, try new activities and connect with their local communities and generations around them.

In 2019 we had over 1,200 events nationwide including tai chi, concerts, walks, sports matches, dance classes and tea parties with tens of thousands of older people participating across the UK. Our ambition for 2021, COVID notwithstanding, is to double this.

Please visit our website silversunday.org.uk, follow us on Twitter @SilverSundayUK or email us at info@silversunday.org.uk for further information.

School testing   

Whole families with children in school or college will be able to test themselves for coronavirus twice a week from home under Department for Education plans for schools to safely open in England from March 8.

Mentoring in a pandemic (for member peers)

Councillor mentoring is a key part of the LGA’s programme of sector-led improvement and a way of ensuring that local councils and councillors receive the support they need to deliver services to the public as effectively as possible. However, over the course of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways we interact, indefinitely. Mentoring in a pandemic will look at the role of the LGA mentor during this pandemic, top tips on keeping momentum between the mentor and mentee and key political skills needed for councillors in the 21st century.

Best practice

We are looking for examples of best practice from Conservative-run councils on a range of activities, including local test and trace schemes, supporting local businesses and high streets, as well helping local communities at a neighbourhood level.

The examples highlighted are obviously not exclusive and please do email us any best practice examples that you feel demonstrates how Conservative councils and councillors are supporting their communities during the latest phase of the pandemic.

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
  • Councillor Paul Middlebrough - Regional Lead Peer for the South West, Hampshire and Isle of Wight
  • Councillor William Nunn - Regional Lead Peer for the East of England
  • Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE - Regional Lead Peer for London
  • Councillor 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.