Group Bulletin: 18 October 2021

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local government association - independent group

Group Bulletin

18 October 2021


Greetings all,

I hope you are keeping well. It is a busy time, so good luck with everything.

Sir David Amess MP

After the shocking events of Friday, our condolences go to the family, friends, colleagues and constituents of Sir David Amess MP. Everyone in public life should be able to conduct their duties safely and the events on Friday are truly terrible. The LGA and WLGA have a guide advising on personal safety and security, including at surgeries and on home visits. Please do read and share with other colleagues. The LGA continues to prioritise its work on civility in public life and I’m sure your councils will be considering their own responses to what’s happened.

Making the case for council funding

Council leaders of the Independent Group met this week. The impact of rising fuel prices on the costs of running our services – especially adult care, leisure centres and bin collections – will need to be taken into account in the current 2021 Spending Review calculations. The shortfall of £2.6 billion of increased costs is on top of the underlying shortfall of £4.6 billion. That seriously increases the risk to non-statutory services.

Cost of reaching net zero

I also met with cross-party leaders on the 'Climate Change Task Group', including the 'Core Cities', chaired by the Labour Mayor of Bristol. Their calculations show that reaching net zero in five service areas will cost between £250 and £300 billion, just for their twelve cities. They are asking for an opportunity to have a 'demonstration', to test it out and seek ways of making it commercially self-funding in the future. They agreed to share their calculations for our councils to compare.

If your council has done any costings on achieving net zero then please do share them by emailing the Independent Group office at

Think tank on universal basic income (UBI)

This week our 'People and Places think tank' met to discuss its stance on having a universal basic income. The Green Party have a line on this but currently neither the Independent Group nor the LGA have a stance. The think tank started a conversation which will now be taken up by our members on relevant boards as well as the Executive to consider whether we have consensus in support (or not). If you have any views you’d like to feed in on whether the Independent Group should support the call for a UBI, please email

We also have a presentation and relevant motions in the office, available on request.


Congratulations to Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council on winning a national award for its ‘collaborative working and shared vision’ on the construction of the new bus interchange. The council won the 'Client of the Year Award' at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Awards in London, against stiff competition.
Congratulations, too, to Cornwall Council for recently winning for winning an MJ Award for its climate change programme, reflecting the previous Independent administration's leadership in this area.

We also have a number of councils and councillors nominated for this year’s LGiU CCLA Councillor Awards, with winners to be announced on 1 December. Good luck to all who have been shortlisted.

Useful member networks

As well as our policy think tanks, we have networks for our district, county and unitary members; and also for women councillors, BAME councillors, councillors with disabilities and young councillors. If you would like to join any of these informal peer networks, find out more or sign up now

Political assistants in councils

Political assistants can be transformative to the performance of our members. For those who have, or would like to have, political assistants within your councils, new guidance has been published that you may find relevant. There are also new regulations coming in which bring the current pay cap in line with the approach in Wales.

Independent Group Annual Conference 2021 | Friday 29 October

In two weeks’ time, on Friday 29 October, we will be coming together for our Independent Group Annual Conference. It will be brilliant to share ideas in person again, though the conference will be hybrid.

There’s still time to reserve your free place to attend – either online, or in person at the LGA offices in London. The programme is full of inspiring speakers, workshops and opportunities to network with other members. We have sessions on ‘building back local’, planning, achieving net zero, and violence against women and girls.

Wishing you all the very best in what you do and I look forward to seeing you at the District Council Network, the Green Party Conference, and / or the Independent Group Annual Conference, over the next few weeks,

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

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

Portrait photo of Marianne Overton