Yesterday the LGiU held a seminar to examine what policies the coalition administration would implement in its first 100 days. This was the first of two seminars exploring the programme of the new Government. The second event is entitled What does the Queens’ Speech mean for you? and is being held on the 16 July 2010.
Our informed panel included speakers such as Tony Travers, London School of Economics, Janet Sillett, LGiU Policy Analyst, Dale Bassett, Senior Researcher at Reform, Peter Ainsworth, former MP East Surrey, Christina Dykes, Special Advisor, Leadership Centre, Cllr Richard Kemp, LGA/Liverpool City Council, Emma Maier, Editor, LGC and Joe Simpson, Director of Politics and Partnerships, The Leadership Centre.
At the seminar the following points were raised (among others):
- Many of the policies pursued by the current Government have been advocated by previous Governments. The devil will be in the detail and even after the Queens’ speech much of this remains to be clarified.
- The panel believed the coalition would last five years so the administration could give some money back in year five. Local authorities should plan for this Government to last the full term.
- The coalition agreement stressed the cuts that would need to be made would be larger than those introduced by Margaret Thatcher. The figure of 50,000 redundancies in local Government was mentioned. It was thought to be too low an estimate by some contributors.
- It was suggested that at least initially the new Government was giving local Government the role of cutting the previous Governments pet projects. However, soon greater cuts would be implemented.
- Local authorities should anticipate these changes and plan for them by comprehensively reviewing the way they provide services and lobbying the new Government with ideas about how greater powers for local authorities could save central Government money.
- The role of local authorities towards schools was explored. It was suggested that under the academies model they could act as a provider of support services to schools on a commercial basis.
- It was envisaged that the future role of local authorities would be to enable provision and partnership rather than provide services themselves of manage all the services in their area.
- Members expressed concern at the creation of additional elected posts such as the police elected element and the health board elections that may rival the elected local authorities democratic mandate.
Many of these themes will be explored in greater detail when we explore the policies contained in the Queens’ speech. If you would like to attend this event (on 16 July) please rsvp here