Group bulletin: 14 January 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

14 January 2022



It’s all systems go this week on the settlement of funding from Central Government for local services. The forecast 6.9 per cent overall increase in spending power is on the expectation that you will be raising your council tax by the maximum amount allowed without a referendum. That is two per cent for council services and one per cent for adult care plus any increase your council chose not to take just before elections last May.

The Government has calculated how much they are passing to us based on the figures we have been submitting. Thus, without taking those increases, there will be a hole in your budget. (For example, in my County Council budget, every one per cent is equivalent to around £3.5 million).

The Government consultation on the local government finance settlement 2022 to 2023 closed on Thursday, the same day as the excellent LGA Virtual Annual Local Government Finance Conference. It was well attended by over 300 people and thanks to our members for their effective engagement in the questions! 

We heard from Kemi Badenoch (Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities), Mike Amesbury (Shadow Minister for Local Government) as well as speakers from the LGA, Institute for Fiscal Studies, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute economics. Presentations from the conference are available on our website. The proposed settlement has clearly reduced council funding, except for the increase in council tax becoming a larger portion of the budget.

Before the conference, I had a good opportunity to meet with Kemi Badenoch to discuss the settlement in a small cross-party meeting online. We addressed the impacts we see first-hand, backed up by data. The new adult care funding addresses the additional people who we are required to subsidise but does not address the shortfall we were already experiencing and there is nothing to improve pay. We also raised the referendum cap, public health, SEND, fairer funding reforms, impact of reducing New Homes Bonus and loss of income.

We also held an Independent Group workshop on budget-setting and challenging this week, which was well-attended.

Remote meetings

It is disappointing we have had to take some of our training courses and conferences online in the light of the rapid increase in Omicron cases, rising to 150,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. At the LGA, we have continued to push for councils to choose to hold meeting online if they choose, but there is no movement yet. If you agree that council meetings should be able to take place remotely, do sign the petition.

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

A chance to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes took place during the fifth day of report stage on 12 January. A sixth day of report stage is scheduled for 17 January. Let me know your views and share it with your local MP.

Annual Conference

As a reminder, bookings for this year’s LGA Annual Conference 2022, taking place from Tuesday 28 June to Thursday 30 June in Harrogate, are also now open. 

LGBT+ History Month

First magazine are seeking contributions for the February edition, to help mark LGBT+ History Month and would love to hear from Independent Group councillors. Last year, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty (Brighton & Hove Council) contributed an article about how council services make a difference. If you would like to contribute, please email by Monday 17 January.

Leadership Essentials: Building Safety

24-25 February 2022

Warwick Conference Centre

This two day course will give greater confidence to leaders and portfolio holders to face the challenges of ensuring that buildings – and their residents - are safe. Visit the leadership essentials page for more information. If you would like to attend, email

Group events

18 January, 3.30pm: A Candidate School event on Developing your USP: aimed at those standing for election in May 2022 or 2023, this workshop will help you distil your unique selling points (USP) to inform your campaign activity. Register for the Candidate School event online.

7 February, 3pm: if the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper has been published our People and Places and City Regions think tanks will be coming together to digest what it means for local government. If the paper has not been published the meeting will be postponed. Contact the office to confirm your attendance. (Please note that this is the event that was originally scheduled for 18 January)

8 February, 11am: LGA Independent Group spotlight event on: High Streets - Death by Permitted Development? Hear from the Town and Country Planning Association on their research into permitted development and discuss the impact this is having on your areas, to inform the LGA’s work in this area Contact the office to confirm your attendance.

Best wishes,

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

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

Portrait photo of Councillor Marianne Overton, Leader of the LGA Independent Group