Group bulletin: 18 November 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

18 November 2022


Greetings Colleagues!

I begin this week’s bulletin with words taken from the Office of Budget Responsibility ‘Economic and Fiscal Outlook - November 2022’, ‘Rising energy, food, and other goods prices have pushed up the interest rates set by inflation-targeting central banks to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. This has taken much of the wind out of the global economic recovery from the pandemic and ratcheted up the financial pressure on governments that emerged from it with higher debt and are again being called upon to help households and businesses through this latest crisis’. Yesterday saw the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the disastrous Liz Truss budget; in short ‘The Autumn Statement adds £8.5 billion to health, social care and schools budgets in 2024-25, but leaves other departments to absorb the effects of higher inflation within budgets that are unchanged in cash terms. The squeeze on their real-terms budgets for day-to-day spending by 2024-25 is between £5.3 billion and £15.3 billion depending on which measure of inflation is used’.

It was a win, however, for the Independent Group that Government has increased the windfall tax on energy companies, an issue that I and our Group have been lobbying on. Alongside this, Government announced an additional £6.6 billion for a new Energy Efficiency Taskforce to drive improvements in energy efficiency – needless to say the LGA is pushing for membership of this taskforce. The announcement for taxing owners of electric vehicles was difficult to hear, as it will inevitably affect the market. It is a difficult balance with needing to keep roads repaired (which I’m sure we’ve all been asked about by our residents) and incentivising people to do the right thing.

We haven’t agreed with the Government introducing a limit on social rents, because these decisions should be taken at a local level and will be part of longer investment plans for local social housing stock. As the Independent Group has highlighted previously, we need to invest in energy efficiency to reduce fuel bills, where any ‘savings’ on social rents will be out-stripped.

The proposals around business rates, and the commitment to cover the costs for councils, will no doubt affect your local areas. If you have concerns or want to raise issues on this, do get in touch. We also noted that Government stated it would continue to reform the planning system, including through updating the National Policy Statements for transport, energy and water resources during 2023 and through ‘sector-specific interventions’ – we will be keeping an eye on this!

For a summary of all the local-government relevant announcements, including on the household support fund, the delay of the care cap, social care funding, school budgets, devolution deals, and the view of the LGA is on the Autumn Statement 2022 LGA Briefing.

COP 27 Climate Change Conference

I am currently at COP27 this week attending various talks and seminars with Ministers and Community Leaders from around the world, arguing the case for zero carbon by 2030 and stressing the responsibility of local Government being at the forefront of climate action. It is pleasing to see some of the world’s major polluters also attending and engaging in what needs to be done to save our planet. The presence of both USA and China just highlight the severity of the crisis and the commitment from major polluters to do something about the Climate emergency. I will follow up with a more detailed analysis in next week’s bulletin!

Vacancy for National Lead Peer and South West Regional Peer

Adverts will be going out for these two roles next week and those interested will have to fill our an ‘Expression of Interest’ Application Form to be considered.

Voter ID requirements

Our group has been very clear that there is too little too late being put into the voter ID requirements to be properly implemented this May. We asked for it to be delayed subject to proper consultation, staff training and preparation. The answer was that most people will be able to vote and those that have not got the right ID can get a form from the Council and apply. I can see that going well! If it is really going ahead, we will need to work hard to help people remember to take their passport or driving licence or special registration along to work if they are voting on the way home. It is also more worthwhile for more people to be on postal votes, as long as they read all the instructions carefully. Thinking how to advise people on this, I asked my Council about the rejected postal votes and you may like to ask the same question of your council. Our Council always reject some postal votes, due to the voters either only putting the vote in the envelope, not the signed paper and/or putting today’s date or the election date in place of their birthdate. The way in which the signature appears is less of a problem, so long as it is clearly the same flow of natural hand-writing.

First past the post for elected mayors and voter identification legislation laid – reminder

Two statutory instruments amending legislation for the conduct of combined authority and local authority mayoral elections were laid on 3 November by DLUHC in Parliament for approval.

The legislation amends the practical arrangements to reflect the change to the first past the post voting system and provides for new forms of ballot papers and other forms. Similar provisions for election of the Mayor of London have also been made. The new arrangements will apply to any election or by-election to the role of Greater London, combined authority, or local authority elected mayor from 4 May 2023.

Similar legislation has been laid applying to Police and Crime Commissioner elections. DLUHC also laid legislation on voter registration to implement the establishment of voter identification at elections, as was stipulated in the Elections Act 2022.


Draft Combined Authorities (Mayoral Elections) (Amendment) Order:

Draft Local Authorities (Mayoral Elections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations:

Greater London Authority Elections (Amendment) Rules 2022

Police and Crime Commissioner Elections and Welsh Forms (Amendment) Order 2022:

The Voter Identification Regulations 2022:

The Big Listen

Local Authorities across London have supported research, led by London Innovation and Improvement Alliance (LIIA), to improve their understanding of how they can better support children’s social workers working in the region.As part of this work, the LIIA has recently launched the #BigListen as an opportunity for all children's social workers in London to be heard in helping London’s regional response to improving the working environment. Each of the #BigListen online focus groups will include up to 45 children's social workers practicing in London and will run from 24 November to 1 December. If you would like to participate you can find out more and register to attend here. Information from the focus groups will be used by the 33 London Local Authorities and the 19 Authorities in the South East in partnership to develop a deeper understanding of how they can improve the workplace for children’s social workers.The LIIA is the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services (ALDCS) sector-led improvement partnership and is hosted by London Councils.

Follow us on Twitter

If you are on Twitter, please follow us so you can keep up-to-date with news and developments from the LGA Independent Group!

LGA Independent Group (@LGA_Independent) / Twitter

Next Generation

I am looking forward to meeting our Next Generation cohort in Warwick next Friday for their next instalment of the programme! To find out more about the programme, visit the Independent Group’s Next Generation page. If you would like to put yourself down on the waiting list for next year, do contact the group office.


Leadership Essentials two-day programme - Digitalisation
Tuesday 6 December – Wednesday 7 December 2022 (virtual meeting)

We are hosting a free two-day Leadership Essentials Digitalisation programme on harnessing the power of digitalisation in local communities. The programme aims to provide councillors with the confidence, capability, and awareness to lead the digitalisation agenda in their local authorities and local areas. Please share this with your members who may be interested in attending.

Regional Retrofit Action Planning
Tuesday 6 December 2022, 10.00am - 11.30am

The UK’s housing stock will need to be carbon neutral by 2050. Councils are working hard to make their own housing stock more energy efficient, whilst building retrofit skills in the community to strengthen local supply chains. This webinar will share examples of good practice from experts and councils who are creating local green jobs in the area of housing retrofit.

Economic inactivity: how can an inclusive and sustainable economic approach help shift the dial? Tuesday 6 December 2022, 2.00pm - 3.15pm

The rise in economic inactivity in the UK is a major concern for national government and place-based leadership and is a clear demonstration of the interrelationship between health, the economy and productivity. This webinar will explore some of the major implications of the rise in economic activity for population health and the wider economy. It will draw on a range of experts from the Institute of Employment Studies, North Central London ICS, Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Local Government Association, who will discuss and debate the impacts of economic inactivity for place-based systems and what inclusive and sustainable action can be taken to mitigate these impacts.

Devolution: making a successful evidence-led application to Government (virtual webinar)
Friday 16 December 2022, 10.30am – 11.30am

This webinar is a practical session, sharing learning and best practice for councils considering devolution deals on how data can be used to make a case to Government. It will draw on the experience of those who have successfully negotiated devolution deals on developing and presenting a strong evidence base.

LGA Local Government Finance Conference 2023 (in-person event)
Tuesday 10 January 2023 | London

The LGA’s Local Government Finance Conference will focus on the 2023/24 provisional local government finance settlement, look at the longer-term outlook for local government in the current economic climate; as well as cover issues raised in this Autumn’s fiscal events.

Decarbonising transport (virtual webinar)
Tuesday 24 January 2023, 10.00am – 11.30am

Transport is now the biggest emitter of carbon of any sector in the UK. If we are to reach our target of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, we will need a fundamental transformation of the ways we move. This webinar will share good practice examples from experts and councils who are developing and delivering decarbonising transport strategies and provision

Finally, a big THANK YOU to our Council Leaders who continue to join me on the fortnightly call and to all our members and affiliated members active in shaping LGA lobbying positions and policy through the various LGA Policy Board Think Tanks. This is hugely important as we try to keep the new Prime Minister and Cabinet on track!

With 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