As we await the forthcoming autumn statement, the cost of living crisis is at the top of the news agenda. Will benefits and pensions keep pace with the rate of inflation? Will, already overstretched, local authority services be hit with further cuts in public sector spending and, if so, how will that affect the efforts that councils are making to mitigate the impact of increasing inflation and energy costs on their residents? Will the Chancellor remove the cap on council tax increases (as reported in the Times this week)? All of these questions will be answered on Thursday and the LGIU will be publishing an on-the-day briefing followed by a more detailed briefing over the following fortnight. In the meantime, check out the LGIU briefing Stepping forward how councils are responding to the cost of living crisis and our latest Global Local: In brief on the same topic which includes a link to our cost of living bundle which covers the issue from every angle.
This week we also pause and reflect on the sacrifice and service on Remembrance Day. In other parts of the world, the Armistice commemoration is marked by a Veterans’ Day. We highlighted the important role that local government can play in supporting veterans re-integrate and their needs addressed. See our Global Local bulletin here which also includes a new briefing on support for veterans.
The other major news story in England this week has been the Home Secretary’s admittance that the asylum system is ‘broken’. Who is left to pick up the pieces? Local authorities, of course! Councils as far afield as Westminster, Ipswich and East Riding of Yorkshire have all criticised the government for transporting asylum seekers to their areas with either no notice or as little as 24 hours notice. This news tallies with the increasing pressures on councils to maintain support for Ukrainian refugees, as the war continues with little hope of it ending in the near future. The LGIU will be producing a briefing on the refugee and asylum crisis, to look at what local councils are doing in picking up the pieces. We have already shared some local and global lessons on refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.
Of course, it’s not just the asylum system that seems in turmoil. We are living in turbulent political times, as our Chief Executive Jonathan Carr-West pointed out in a column for the Local Government Chronicle this week.
In other news, Sir Gavin Williamson has resigned his Cabinet post due to allegations of bullying. Meanwhile, another former cabinet minister has left his constituency to travel to Australia in order to ‘better engage’ with younger voters. I suspect that Matt Hancock will experience bullying by those younger voters when they are asked to vote for who should partake in the most arduous bushtucker trials. It’s a jungle out there – in both politics and reality TV!
If the former health minister had read last week’s LGIU briefing on young people’s current attitudes to democracy he may have been better informed as to the plight that awaits him in the Australian jungle!
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