Group bulletin: 10 October 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

10 October 2022


Greetings everyone!

I hope you are well and making big plans for the forthcoming elections next May. We have a lot of our members out in May and I hope colleagues in other councils will also want to help.

The Independent Group annual conference is an opportunity to meet other members, so please book onto our Independent Group Annual Conference on Friday 28 October! With around 3,100 of us now in membership of the Group, I’m sure it will be a great day.

Government shift to tax cuts and away from public services

We are seeing considerable turmoil with the Government's change of direction away from supporting our public services. The high borrowing for tax reductions without any calculations from the Office of Budget responsibility looks a bit reckless. We saw the result in crashing the economic markets with a falling pound, with rising inflation and interest rates. The chaos was only held in check once the banks had stepped in to buy the Government bonds.

I'm sure a good number of our members are now getting ready for a General Election alongside preparations for the local elections. I'm sure members in control of their councils will be making sure the public know who to blame when cuts in service follow!

We discussed how to deal with the savings needed at our Independent Council Leaders’ fortnightly meeting this week. We have put together a summary of measures as case studies. The LGA also set up a cost of living hub with a large number of case studies and ideas.

Councils face a funding gap

We have the underlying shortfall in long-term adult care, now at last £18 billion short by 2026-27 because of the reversal of the National Insurance rise. We have the immediate concerns of a pay rise of around 6 per cent (£1,925 per person) when we planned for 2-4 per cent. Inflation planned at 2 per cent is now 9.9 per cent and we have spiralling fuel costs. In my county council, the fuel cost increase is around £6m and the wages similar. Many councils will be facing a significant gap in funding, which the LGA estimates to be £3.6 billion in 2023/24 and rising to £4.5 billion by 2024/25 – and that is assuming inflation drops to previous levels.

You may want to call for better support and local action by debating the impact of the Conservative tax-cutting budget on your council services. Launching a cross-party working partnership including all partner bodies and creating a shared action plan works well.

The LGA is running a project to capture case studies of councils taking a cross-cutting approach to tackling the cost of living. If you have something to share, contact to find out more.  

Facing climate change

The other big change Liz Truss appears to bring is a lack of attention to tackling climate change. We have called for growth in the "green" industries, increasing skills and resources for retrofitting homes. Lifting the ban on fracking, opening new oil fields and not focussing on reduction of energy seems at odds with the enormity of the task ahead.

I have just been in Brussels talking with councils across Europe about their emergency measures that they aim to bring in fast. Our Independent group called for a windfall tax on the windfall profits of the fossil fuel energy-producing companies to assist insulation and to aid residents. In the EU, they are planning exactly that, called a "solidarity contribution". Like us, they will also have a cap on the unit cost. In addition, they plan to decentralise energy sources more locally.

I have been working on an "expert group" with European colleagues on a new study of what councils can do on climate and energy, out soon.

In time for COP27 in Egypt at the end of November, the LGA's Pass the Planet campaign is showcasing good examples from our councils and holding a webinar on 8 November, 10.00am-11.30am.


The Government has announced £1.5 billion of funding for a new Help to Heat scheme to improve energy efficiency and reduce bills for low-income households. Councils and social housing providers will be able to submit bids for funding to deliver upgrades to properties from early 2023 until March 2025. My district council is applying to retrofit 200 homes to Energy Efficiency Grade C, adding to the 103 done this year. It still seems slow progress with 3,900 houses in stock! The Centre for Research into Energy Demand solutions is holding an event on Fuel and transport poverty: Policy options for a fair and equitable transition to net-zero on 11 October, 2.00pm – 3.00pm.

Party conferences

Thank you for the warm welcome to the Green Party Conference last weekend in Harrogate, where I was pleased to host a reception and say a few words. I look forward to supporting the Plaid Cymru conference next and the Independent Group event for all our group members on 28 October. All our events, perhaps especially our conferences, are stimulating opportunities to be informed and reinvigorated in our commitment to do a great job for our residents.

Clarence Barrett Award and Citations nominations 2022: still open!

The Clarence Barrett Award is our highest award presented to LGA Independent Group Members. The award is in memory of our former colleague of Clarence Barrett. The Award recognises those councillors who go above and beyond in their work, to contribute something significant to local government and residents. Please make your nomination at

Clarence Barrett Award and Citations nominations 2022

And finally…

LGA Independent Group Annual Conference 2022 – 28 October 2022, London

Please join us for our Annual Group Conference and evening social event from 5.30pm. If you are an Independent Councillor, Green, Plaid Cymru or from a smaller party in England or Wales, this is a key date for your diary. The annual conference will be hybrid, but a lot better to attend!

Many thanks for all you are doing in your communities and your councils. I am excited about the year ahead and look forward to seeing you soon.


Cllr Marianne Overton MBE
Leader of the Independent Group and Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association

Call for examples of good practice

The LGA is seeking to publish a selection of case studies to illustrate the value of effective political engagement in civil resilience activity. The initial stage of the work will involve compiling a long list of examples across different councils on preparedness, response and recovery. Please email and by Friday 28 October.

A number of tried and tested motions on a range of issues are available on the Independent Group website. Do send in any you have been successful with in your council.  

Improvement support

Housing Advisers Programme 2022/23  

Now accepting applications until 5.00pm on 24 November 2023.

This includes a funding programme, which will award up to £20,000 to successful applicants for the provision of bespoke expert support to councils to help tackle local housing challenges.

Councillor development and leadership

A reminder that the LGA runs a number of high quality Leadership Essentials courses on issues such as finance, audit committees, digitalisation, scrutiny, housing, licensing, etc.

Local leadership: What helps councillors to be more effective? 

The LGA is currently refreshing its local leadership framework and wants to hear from councillors. The events are free, will be held virtually, via Zoom, and are open to all councillors of all councils in England.

LGA events

 A guide to applying to the Housing Advisers Programme
Friday 14 October 2022, 10.30am –12.00pm

Personal Safety for Councillors 
Monday 17 October 2022, 5.30pm – 7.00pm

Handling online abuse and intimidation 
Thursday 27 October 2022, 10.30am – 12.00pm

LGA Independent Group Annual Conference 2022 (Hybrid event)
Friday 28 October 2022, London

Finance without numbers: An introduction to local government finance for newly elected members Monday Monday 31 October 2022, 6.00pm – 7.30pm

Pass the Planet: Showcasing local climate action on the COP27 goals
Tuesday 8 November 2022, 10.00am – 11.30am