England & Wales Press Releases

LGIU Statement: Queen’s Speech 2021

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGIU said:

“This will not be a particularly encouraging Queen’s Speech for local government.

Everyone agrees that we need to build many, many more houses in this country. It’s less clear that planning is what is preventing us from doing so. These proposals leave local government with the political liability on planning whilst depriving them, and by extension the communities they represent, of the powers to manage it effectively. Are major planning changes on permitted development totally compatible with rejuvenating town centres?

And, if we truly want places to be levelled up and to stay levelled up, we need to empower them through genuine devolution, not through sporadic government patronage. Governments outside of Westminster have to deliver every day. Westminster politicians love to talk about how they will get on and deliver, but it is councils and mayors that actually do that. The shift of power away from Westminster is already happening, our politics have to catch up somehow.

However, the glaring hole in the middle of this Queen’s Speech is a plan for social care reform. Every year that this is kicked into the distance, the care sector moves closer to complete collapse. No one pretends there’s an easy solution here but it will never get any easier and there will never be a better time. The Government must act now.

As arguments rage about the principle of voter ID, we would simply note that just last week local government delivered a double set of elections under the most trying of circumstances with, as always, a minimum of problems and negligible fraud. Maybe the Government should let councils do what they do best without making things more complicated than they need to be.”