Group bulletin: 7 March 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

7 March 2022



The unprovoked attack on Ukraine by Russia has filled us with horror. Sanctions seem puny by comparison but are a start. Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons on the understanding we collectively would support them if attacked, and some countries are providing defensive weapons.

Our communities rose to assist during COVID and we need to do even more now.  Many people in our communities want to take action and organisations such as UNICEF and the British Red Cross are among those coordinating financial and other contributions.

The LGA stands in support and solidarity with Ukraine and leaders have signed a declaration of support and many leaders of councils across Europe have done so too. If you would like to sign as well to show your support, you can sign the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) statement on Ukraine. Particularly powerful and moving is Independent Group member and Leader of Ashfield District Council Councillor Jason Zadrozny's speech on Ukraine.

One and a half million people have fled into neighbouring countries. Refugees are arriving in the UK, to be with family. Councils are co-ordinating help and support. Housing, safeguarding and mental health support remain a vital part of our work.

The threat of cyber attacks has increased and could target councils, individuals or an electricity supply, bringing our shared public emergency plans into action. The National Cyber Security Centre has published guidance on actions to take when the cyber threat is heightened. Councils interested in learning more about cyber risk can apply to take part in the the LGA Cyber 360.

The cost of fuel is sky-rocketing with increases well beyond the £150 Government grant offered to residents. Many councils have upped their support for tenants and are speeding up their home insulation programme.

Reaching net zero

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published its report on the Government’s plans for reaching net zero by 2050, supporting what we already know that local government will be at the cutting edge of delivery. Find out more in the LGA's response to the PAC report on net zero.

Independent Group Climate Change Conference

Friday 18 March, 10.15am–3.45pm | 18 Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ
We are very excited to confirm that we have a wealth of great speakers lined up for the LGA Independent Group Climate Conference. Speakers include:

  • Baroness Brown of Cambridge
  • Sophie Howes (Future Generation Commissioner, Wales)
  • Paul Behrens (Assistant Professor, Leiden University)
  • Emma Osmundsen (Managing Director, Exeter City Living)
  • and speakers from Climate Emergency UK, Climate Futures and One Planet.

Register to attend our Independent Group Climate Change Conference

International Women’s Day

It is International Women’s Day tomorrow, Tuesday 8 March, so please keep an eye out for events and promotions, and features in 'first' magazine. The hashtag for social media is #BreakTheBias. Linked to this, the Government has launched a multi-year national communications campaign called 'Enough' which seeks to reduce violence against women and girls. The 'Enough' campaign's website provides more information about the steps that people can take to safely challenge violence against women and girls, as well as guidance for victims of these crimes and advice for perpetrators who recognise their behaviour needs to change.

A reminder that the LGA Independent Group will be launching councillor networks, including a Women’s Network, a Young Councillors' Network, a BAME Councillors' Network and a Disabled Councillors' Network.

Register to join the Independent Group networks and policy think thanks

Funding for buses

Government has acted on calls from the LGA, councils, and operators, to extend funding support for local bus services. At the LGA, we have made the case strongly against the loss of bus subsidy due to end in March, resulting in severe loss of services. There is an additional £150 million in funding for bus and light rail services until October 2022, which we will put to good use.

LGA Executive Board

This week at the LGA, we will have the Minister for Levelling Up, The Union and Constitution, Neil O Brien MP attending our Executive Board meeting and Gillian Keegan MP (Minister for Care and Mental Health) attending our Councillors' Forum. If you would like to send a question, please email

New Year 2023 Honours nomination deadline 6 April

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is inviting councils in England to consider making a nomination for the New Year 2023 Honours list. Nominations can be made via the DLUHC New Year 2023 Honours nomination form which also requires that you email two letters of support to at the same time as submitting the form. The deadline for nominations is 6 April. A New Year 2023 Honours information pack has also been made available.

East Midlands and East of England regional meeting

At the East Midlands and East of England regional meeting in Lincoln on Friday, we heard an inspiring speech from Councillor Ed Gemmell (Buckinghamshire Council) of Scientists Warning. Anthesis, major consultants looking at plans for tackling climate change, also opened hot discussions. The 'From where I sit' section included councillors from authorities that have transitioned to unitary, losing Independent Group members on the way. The post-COVID discussions on improving mental health were a stark reminder of how much more there is to do. At the evening event, we encircled the seven-foot 'Gaia Earth' (on display at The Collection Museum, Lincoln) in a ring of peace. This was very poignant as we thought about the protection of Ukraine and of the planet.

Best wishes and kind regards to you all. Good luck in all you are doing,

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