Group bulletin: 23 December 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

23 December 2022


Greetings Colleagues,

As many of us will already be busy on local festive events or away, the Local Government Financial Settlement has just arrived.

The much vaunted increase in “Core Spending Power” is 9.2%, but only as long as your council takes the maximum increase in council tax of 3% or £5 on band D and 2% for Adult Social Care.  Raising council tax amid a cost of living crisis is always unpopular and we will need to make our messaging very clear. The Government has devolved around a 4% increase, amid inflation and other cost pressures of considerably more than that. Following significant work by our councils and the LGA,  to produce the evidence of need, I am pleased that Local Government has been one of the protected services this time. We will still need to tighten our belts yet again, just when our communities need our services more. Our Independent Group and the LGA are working on ways to continue to succeed despite increased demands. You can access sessions at Warwick, on line and case studies on the web. 

There is also concern regarding ‘turbo charging’ of devolution, if it involves forcing reorganisation in order to access local government funds that we should already have in our Councils. There is uncertainty about the application of “levelling up” if directed from Central Government or relying on a costly bidding war. The settlement forecast is out for consultation currently until 16th January 2023, I encourage all Independent councils, Councillors and our affiliated members to contribute and call for more longer-term funding to ensure public money is well invested in our communities.

Provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024: consultation

This consultation seeks views on proposals for the local government finance settlement for 2023 to 2024. You can submit your views either online or else email directly

Other Grants

The Council Tax Support Fund for councils to pay for those who cannot, has been increased for next year, along with new guidance and individual council allocations are here. The Homelessness Prevention Grant is here. The rural payments will continue.

South West Regional Peer - NOW OPEN for applications

The LGA Independent Group is looking to appoint a South West regional lead peer - applicants need to be an accredited peer, having undertaken at least 2 peer challenges and from the South West Region. For further information and how to apply, head over to our website homepage

Deadline for submissions are Friday 30th December with interviews taking place in the New Year.

Biodiversity COP15 Montreal

On Monday a new international agreement was signed, where nations agreed to protect 30% of nature on Earth by 2030. This includes investing $200bn a year from public and private sources for biodiversity related-funding as well as halting species extinction and maintaining genetic diversity. You can read more about the major landmark deal and the agreements reached.

New Targets for UK Environment

As UK has turned out to be one of the most destructive countries in the last 50 years, the COP15 agreement was quickly reflected in Rt Hon Teresa May’s comments from DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Changes proposed in Planning

This new agreement adds weight to the current changes proposed in the National Planning Policy Framework, that affects us all, wide-ranging and with big implications for all Local Planning Authorities. The consultation on changes to the NPPF to reflect planning proposals in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has been published. You can find the consultation here. It is open until 2 March 2023.

Latest Poll on attitudes to Climate Change

In the third year of research polling by London Councils to gauge Londoners’ understanding of climate change and the effect it has on their lives, results showed the vast majority of Londoners (84%) are concerned about climate change. In addition to this, people are also becoming more worried about climate change with 72% of Londoners saying their level of concern has increased over the past 12 months. 32 London boroughs have now committed to Net Zero targets before 2050, and the majority of boroughs have published final or draft Climate Action Plans setting out how they will meet those ambitions. You can read more about the poll findings in the full report.

LGA Annual Conference 2023

What do you want on the Agenda in the Annual Conference in Bournemouth on 4 – 6th July 2023 ? Who do you think is a cracking speaker? We aim to get the best in Britain on any subject. Please let us know to help us make this the best conference ever! Additionally, anyone wanting to contribute, speaking on a project demonstrating  “Challenge and change” in the innovation zone should write a paragraph to explain their project and send it to the Independent Group office

Examples of topics for sessions from last year include: Cost of Living, Planning, Levelling-up, Modern Slavery, High Streets, Funding, Debate not Hate, Equalities. Please do send any ideas and/or suggestions for consideration to the group office email address soonest.

Budget setting online workshop for Independents and affiliated Members

Friday 13 January, 11.00am – 1.00pm

It’s a challenging time for local government with a decade of reductions in funding and rising demand, along with the impact of COVID-19 adding pressure to council finances. How better to discuss and prepare for council budget setting than by joining our virtual workshop on Budget setting and effective challenge on Friday 13 January, 11.00am–1.00pm.This timely seminar follows the Government’s Autumn Statement 2022: LGA briefing and pre-empts your council budget meetings. We will have a member of the LGA’s Finance team providing an update on what the autumn statement means and councillors Phélim Mac Cafferty and Gillian Ford offering top tips for setting and challenging council budgets, relevant for those in administration and opposition.

Our group workshops are free, interactive training sessions which give you the opportunity to ask questions and contribute to discussions based on your local experience. If you would like to attend, please email LGA Independent Group colleagues at who will send you the Zoom meeting link.


Wishing you and your families a lovely Christmas break and wish you every success throughout 2023.

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