Group bulletin: 22 April 2022

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

22 April 2022


Afternoon, Colleagues,

I hope you had a nice Easter in the sunshine, either out campaigning or with family and friends.


As you read this, hundreds of Independent, Green, Plaid Cymru, Independent Network and smaller party candidates are out and about in their communities and working hard online, organised and determined to focus on getting the very best for their local residents. I am so proud and humbled to see people who already work in the heart of their communities prepared to do more and stand up for their neighbours in their councils. Being a new Councillor is a high-skilled, part-time calling, where you get to help target powers and resources on best supporting local people – what could be better than that?

Experienced councillors and staff of the Independent Group have been there to support candidates in the months before the election and will be ready to help out post-election. Civility is vital and the LGA booklet is useful to avoid problems and challenge behaviour when necessary.

On the Doorsteps: The State of the Nation

The Roman Empire collapsed when they had poor Leaders, infighting, economic pressures, disease, and pressure from invasions, some of which sounds pretty familiar to us today! The top Conservative leadership are facing sanctions and fines for breaking their own laws and accusations of lying to Parliament about breaking the law. Meanwhile, rising living costs are expected to result in a recession over the summer.

We are calling on Government to substantially increase the Warm Homes Discount for poorer households and expand the category of households eligible to include all in receipt of either Pension Credit or working age benefits. Scrapping the £153 average “green levy” on energy bills, without supporting household energy-saving measures, provides a short-term bung, like the recent £150 council tax rebate, but does nothing to address the underlying problem of many homes needing to be less wasteful long term.

Local issues remain vital: housing, schools, roads, waste and care, whilst tackling climate change in everything we do. Together, we have a terrific record of support for our communities and our councils and I wish all of our members and candidates every success!


The war continues with the fall of Kreminna, in the Dombas region. Huge thanks to many of our members who have done all we can to show support for Ukraine, now under horrendous attack. Some have run events, made donations, criss-crossed Europe to deliver essential items like ambulances and even bring back refugees with visas under the sponsorship scheme. Thank you.

At the LGA, our weekly cross-party meetings about how best to assist the Ukranian refugees continue post-Easter with ministers Michael Gove MP and Lord Richard Harrington. Refugees who are invited by family are not funded, but some are quickly becoming homeless, with responsibility falling to councils to provide hotels and then permanent homes, schools and access to health services. We have enquired about rematching with what is now well over 200,000 UK families offering their homes to the sponsorship scheme. The Government are working with RESET matching and training service, launched 1 April. We are calling for further improvement in data flow, so councils can complete checks before refugees find themselves wrongly placed. A light touch assessment of the home by the Council is appropriate, we understand, but we need some reassurance that government is backing us in this.

If a visa is not obtained before arrival in the UK, refugees risk deportation. Visas for Ukrainian refugees have been very slow, recently speeding up to 5,000 refugees per week. 60,000 have now been processed, and 20,000 refugees who have visas have not yet arrived. It is not deemed safe for children to be added onto their mothers’ visa, as light checks could not quickly establish whether the child really was their mother or not.

Planning Changes

You will doubtlessly remember we fought hard against the proposals to sweep away planning policy from local authorities to make it more efficient, and I am pleased to say, it was scrapped. There is, however, still concern from some quarters about efficiency. The latest idea floated is to pool the £7bn currently spent on Council housing and give it to councils for infrastructure a bit like the CIL payment, perhaps. Developers like having cheaper housing outside their gates, but any good community needs a mixture of housing.  How do you think planning could be improved? Let us know

Plastic Campaign 16-22nd May

How about this being an Independent Group campaign? Maybe in each area, we could put all your plastic waste in one big heap for a photo and a letter to the Minister? You can also sign up to the Big Plastic Count – billed as the UK’s biggest investigation into household plastic waste. Ask your council how much plastic waste they collect and what happens to it. Together we can gather new game-changing evidence that will push the government to tackle the plastic crisis. Find out more on the Big Plastic Count website.

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend

The LGA has met with Lord Parkinson, Minister for Arts and Culture, to discuss preparations. There is LGA guidance for councils on how to take part in the events of the Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend 2022. We are doing a count of how many street parties are happening up and down the country, so please let us know!

Culture supporting Covid Recovery

The LGA has launched an independent Commission on Culture and Local Government to investigate the vital role of publicly funded culture in recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Can you provide an example of how locally funded culture can support Inclusive Economic Recovery? Please let us know by emailing

LGA Annual Conference

The LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition returns in person and will take place on 28-30 June 2022 at the Harrogate Convention Centre. With over 40+ conference sessions, 100+ speakers and facilitators, 80+ exhibitors and sponsors as well as the inspirational Innovation Zone, there will be plenty to explore and discuss over the three days. Over 1,400 senior representatives from local and central government, business and the voluntary and community sector regularly attend – don’t miss out!  

Good luck in your campaigns! Let us know if you would like to give or receive a helping hand and don’t forget to send your photos to, is vital we improve local government with more people like you!

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