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Your LGIU weekly digest

Good morning LGIU members! Grab your morning brew ☕ and let us catch you up on everything happening in the world of local government, from news stories to our latest briefings and more.

The latest for LGIU Members

Budget 2023 – devolution and local economic development issues

How will the 2023 Budget drive forward devolution and local economic development? This briefing provides the major answers of substance – Investment Zones, Trailblazer devolution deals and a breadth of other policies and programmes. Read on to get a sense of what it all means for your area and communities.

Housing and planning round-up April

Cultural sector policy and research round-up

This week our one-stop-shop of election resources brings you the key research, news and developments from the campaign trail.

State of the Locals

Check out the exclusive polling data commissioned by LGIU from Ipsos on attitudes to local elections, the work of councillors, role of local government and new voter ID requirements across England.

LGIU and Vuelio 2023 Elections Bulletin – 20 April

Once again we are teaming up with Vuelio to bring you our weekly elections bulletin. We’ll be looking at all the news and key developments – putting the spotlight firmly on the local nature of these all important elections.

Our weekly Global Local newsletter offers a topical overview of the best innovation, ideas and experiences to be found in local government around the world.
Find out more here.

Gambling

In this issue of Global Local, we’ll be covering gambling’s harms and the responses available to local governments.

DAILY NEWS

EDUCATION

Councils say anxiety behind increase in school absences

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a steep increase in school absences among children in England, according to councils. Budget pressures have led to cuts in school support staff, which has resulted in some schools "managing" students out of classrooms or disguising attendance records. Evidence presented to MPs on the Commons education select committee suggests that some parents are now more cautious about sending their children to school with minor ailments as a result of public health messaging during the pandemic. Anxiety and lack of mental health support are cited as key drivers behind the increase in absences. The latest attendance data from the Department for Education revealed that absences in the spring term this year were still 50% higher than before the pandemic. In 2021-22, more than one in five secondary pupils were "persistently absent" for missing 10% or more of sessions. The LGA has said schools have been forced to make cuts in pastoral support, making it harder to encourage vulnerable children to attend.
The Guardian

Third of post-lockdown school tutoring fund unspent

According to a BBC investigation, about one third of the £594m earmarked for tutoring to help children catch up after Covid lockdowns has gone unspent. The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) provides one-to-one or group lessons outside of school hours, but schools must top up any Government money from their own budgets. Almost £209m of the £594.3m allocated to the NTP for the previous two academic years has not been spent, according to a BBC Freedom of Information request. The latest Department for Education data estimates that 66% of schools in England have participated in the NTP this academic year, as of January. Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the programme had delivered tutoring at unprecedented scale and "millions of children have benefited". He added: "With exam season approaching, I hope that every eligible school will take advantage of the scheme this term to provide pupils who need additional help with one-to-one or small group tuition."
BBC News

MP warns of free school meals funding gap

Steve Brine MP is warning that schools are at risk of a funding gap for providing free school meals to infant-age children. Although all children in England in reception class, year 1 and year 2 are eligible for free meals, schools are finding that the funding they receive is no longer enough to cover the cost. Some schools are having to subsidise the cost from already stretched budgets. Mr Brine has suggested making the market for providing school meals more competitive to address the issue. Andy Kemp, group executive director at Bidfood UK – one of the largest food suppliers to schools, said: “We are seeing increasingly, contractors and local authorities pulling out of the provision of school food and offering just a basic sandwich service to those children that are allowed free school meals, which is simply inadequate. The level of increased Government funding for universal infant free school meals and benefitted free school meals is insufficient and completely misaligned when comparing against food inflation, increase in national minimum wage as well as RPI and CPI.”
Daily Mail   Mirror.co.uk

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Liverpool prepares for elections

On May 4, 2023, residents of Liverpool will head to the polls to elect a new city council. Although Labour has held control since 2010, opponents of the party are attempting to capitalise on a series of recent controversies that have hit the city. The political map of Liverpool has also been redrawn, with the number of wards increasing from 30 to 64 and the number of councillors being reduced from 90 to 85. The role of directly elected mayor has been abolished in favour of a council leader and cabinet structure. The Liberal Democrats hope to improve on their performance in previous elections - the party having controlled the city just 13 years ago. The Green Party will aim to retain their support, while Independent candidates may have a better chance of success due to the smaller size of the wards. The Conservatives are standing in 39 of the 64 wards, but have not held a councillor position in Liverpool since 1998.
BBC News

REGENERATION

Revised Gateshead Quayside plan revealed

Images of revised plans for Gateshead Quayside's arena and conference development have been revealed. Plans for a 12,500-capacity arena, conference centre and hotel were approved in late-2020 Increasing prices have seen the cost of the development rise from an estimated £260m to £330m. A new planning application for the complex has been submitted by developers Ask Patrizia. Increasing prices have seen the cost of the project spiral from an estimated £260m to £330m. Gateshead Council succeeded at the second attempt in securing a £20m Levelling Up grant from the Government to help cover the mounting costs.
BBC News

Strategic thinking

Online | 10:00-15:00 | 26 April

This engaging and involving training session will equip delegates with an understanding of what strategic thinking is. You will come away with the tools to implement strategic approaches to project implementation and change within your teams.

You are an LGIU member so use your 25% discount and book a place today.

PLANNING

Developers blame planning rules for housing shortfall

Developers have claimed that the planning system is the worst it has been for decades, and is preventing tens of thousands of homes from being built each year. Issues including a quasi-ban on building homes around national parks, nutrient and water neutrality rules, and new planning policy changes that make local authorities’ housebuilding targets advisory rather than mandatory, are leading to as many as 45,000 new homes being rejected each year, according to trade association the Home Builders Federation. The group warns that the change in planning policy will lead to a fall in building output of 77,000 homes per year, and believes that the total number of new homes built in the UK could fall to half of last year’s total of 233,000, particularly given the withdrawal of the Help to Buy scheme.
The Times

CARE

MP launches new Bill to ensure carers receive all money owed

Labour MP Paula Barker is set to launch a National Minimum Wage Bill next month, which aims to close a loophole that leads to many care workers' pay dipping below the legal minimum. The Bill would require care firms to demonstrate that they fully comply with existing legislation, which states that travel time and waiting time for work should count as work. Critics argue that many care providers fail to follow this law, resulting in hundreds of thousands of care workers only being paid for time spent cooking, cleaning and washing their clients. Barker's proposed legislation would write compliance into care firms' contracts with local councils. The aim is to ensure that all care workers receive at least the hourly minimum rates. Analysts suggest that paying care workers what they are legally owed could help tackle recruitment and retention issues and improve the sector. It could also enable more patients to leave hospital, freeing up space for new admissions and cutting waiting times.
Mirror.co.uk

ENERGY

Britain joins EU countries in wind power commitment

Several European countries, including Britain, Germany, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, and Luxembourg, will launch a wind-power revolution with a tenfold increase in electricity generation by 2050 using massive turbine "islands" built at sea. At a meeting in Ostend, Energy Secretary Grant Shapps will announce a plan for the world's largest multi-use power line under the North Sea, connecting the UK and the Netherlands with offshore wind farms. Energy ministers will agree to quadruple offshore wind power during the next five years, with plans to build the world's largest network of new offshore wind farms generating electricity in the North Sea.
The Times

LEISURE & TOURISM

Report suggests £4bn boost from VAT-free tourist shopping

According to a report by Oxford Economics, restoring tax-free shopping for foreign visitors could boost the UK economy by £4.1bn and support 78,000 jobs. After taking into account growth in visitor numbers, paying more taxes elsewhere in the economy, and generating more earnings for employees and companies that also result in more tax, the researchers calculate that there would be a net gain of around £350m a year.
Daily Mail

More from LGIU...

Key insights from local government around the world

A Human Rights Act for Australia: How will it affect local government?

Sharing lessons from Ireland and Spain on actions to tackle child poverty

The state of the private rental market: Rents, affordability, and related issues in Ireland

All Things England – the placement of asylum seekers, threats to local planning rights and a rap video on voter ID

LGIU England Commissioner, Peter Smith rounds up the local government news of the past week, highlighting the ongoing battle between central government and local authorities on the placement of asylum seekers, threats to local planning rights and a new rap video on voter ID.

And Finally...

Want more content? Last week's And Finally wraps up everything you may have missed from LGIU, including an upcoming Global Local Executive Panel on tackling the cost of living crisis; a new article on how North Ayrshire Council supports its staff battling compulsive gambling; and, a brilliant And Finally story reminding voters to bring ID. 

Getting the most out of your LGIU membership

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Daily News is part of your LGIU membership. Please feel free to forward to colleagues within your council or organisation but it cannot be sent to recipients outside your workplace.
LGiU Daily News is not presented as ‘established fact'; views are not necessarily those of Early Morning Media or LGiU. 

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