Group Bulletin: 10 September 2021

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local government association - independent group

Group Bulletin

10 September 2021


Quick links

This week

Welcome back to the new term!

An inspiring day yesterday included the new board members discovering the cogs that make the LGA tick. Our Independent Group members were on the stage presenting the work of the LGA as a whole, developing better policy for the Government in Culture and Tourism (Julian German), and in peer work (Mike Haines) helping councillors and councils do the very best job possible.  I am proud to say that the most contributions online or from the floor were from our Independent Group members, well engaged and thinking ahead on shaping the future.

The Independent group discussions in the afternoon, led by Deputy, Treasurer and I, considered solutions to the big problems facing local government and how the board members welcome engagement from all members via the think tanks. Please do sign up if there is a subject you are interested in.

Environment Bill

I was pleased to brief members of the House of Lords this week on our LGA recommendations for amendments on the Environment Bill which they have timetabled. We welcome the ambition of the bill and look to making it more workable, and better when aligned to the Agriculture Bill.

We are supporting the producer pays principle for waste packaging, encouraging its reduction, especially plastics. We ask for local decision-making on collection and funding. The increased role of the internal drainage boards was noted and the need for matching funds. The biodiversity net gain through the planning process is supported. However, I pointed out that we are limited in two things, the viability assessments and the requirement to allow house-building, whether they can afford the necessary accompanying requirements or not. We have also called for some powers to enforce and strengthen the new role for Councils in nature recovery.

Huge thanks to our LGA Independent Group Vice Presidents in the House of Lords, playing such an important role for us at this critical stage.

Coincidentally, this week, I spoke on behalf of European Local Government at the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) conference on Biodiversity, and a World Charter was agreed, available via the office as is my talk.

Working nationally to secure local funding

Care for Adults and Children is a big part of our County Council budget and rising significantly. At the Local Government Association, we have been working on the Government for secure long-term funding. We produced a green paper, consulted widely and presented the results. The only measures that add up to the significant sums needed are a rise in income tax or national insurance. The Government had pledged not to raise taxes.

Unfortunately, the decision to u-turn and raise national insurance, is not being used to secure long term funding for care.  The majority is going to the NHS. The remaining £5.4 bn over 3 years is largely to subsidise care charges that wealthier people currently pay. 

Indeed Councils are expected to pay homes more for care homes, more employer NI for staff, and more for wealthy people now coming onto the council for free care. Meanwhile the biggest problems of increasing costs as more people needing care, working age adults and children in care remain untouched. 

In our calculations from the Green paper that the LGA produced, we saw the maximum are charge cap for wealthy people as unaffordable, when we do not have the funds for the basics.  No-body wants their neighbour to suffer and that uses all our funds, council income being greatly depleted by the government, since 2008. 

The Council funding settlement and the Better Care Fund (or Integrated Care System) are still to be resolved. We need a genuine increase in funds for care and not siphoned out from Councils via another door.

Afghan Refugees

Through the LGA, we are lobbying Government for proper communication with Councils when refugees are placed by Government in quarantine in hotels in our area. That enables us to provide the care they need and start working on housing to match their needs. We also call for clarity and certainty of funding. There is further a risk of a two-tier system as some people arrive under the funded ARAP scheme, for those who have worked for the British and are entitled to work and benefits, as opposed to asylum seekers from Afghanistan and elsewhere. The numbers are likely to rise and you will have heard of the worrying risky journeys across the channel and the attempt of our government to push people back over the sea border as unsafe and illegal, without a receiving ship.

Violence Against Women and Girls

The Government published it’s new Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy this week, outlining several measures to protect women and girls from abuse and violence. This includes introducing a National Policing lead for VAWG, as well as a new Safety of Women at Night Fund, which is open to bids from local authorities amongst others

Group Announcements

LGA Board Meetings

The LGA Board and LGA Executive Advisory Board met this week and put our staff and policy boards to work on the many other issues facing our Councils, including our response to the upcoming Spending Review.

If you are interested in finding out more about being on a policy board please let the office know. Our think tanks are a great place to start.

Got a Councillor hero to nominate?

The Independent Group are calling for Citations and nominations for the Clarence Barrett Award by the 4 October. If you know of councillors going above and beyond in their role to support their residents, demonstrate leadership or influencing local government more broadly, we want to hear from you. The forms to complete are on our website. Citations will be given out as part of our Annual Conference.

Key Dates

Group Conference

Our LGA Independent Group Annual Conference is taking place on the 29th October and sign up is now open, we will be holding this as a hybrid so ask members to rsvp as soon as possible as to whether they plan to attend in person or online.

LGA webinar on domestic abuse perpetrators

On Thursday 7 October 2021, the LGA is hosting a webinar on Domestic Abuse Perpetrators – what’s the best approach? The webinar is free for all LGA members and will be taking place from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Further details and our agenda is available online here. You can register via our LGA events page.

The Government are currently consulting on the draft statutory guidance for implementing the definition of domestic abuse. The guidance extends to England and to Wales insofar as it relates to reserved or non-devolved matters in Wales. The consultation is open until 14 September 2021.

Rural event

The previously postponed event on Rural opportunities for economic growth will now take place on Thursday 7 October 2021 at 10.30am. Book your place now via

look forward to seeing you soon online or in person.

Good luck with all you do.


Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

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

Marianne Overton