Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGIU said:
“We’re still only about a third of council results in but at this stage it’s clear that the Conservatives are consolidating their position in Red Wall and non-metropolitan areas. As well as significant victories in Hartlepool and the Tees Valley mayoralty, they have taken control of 4 councils and won over 128 seats overwhelmingly at the expense of Labour.
The swing against Labour has been concentrated in those seats last contested in 2016 and not in 2017, suggesting that today’s results are a continuation of an existing trend in British politics rather than a sudden shift.
These results will have a real impact on local areas. It will reinforce the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda but is also likely to strengthen the Government’s preference for driving this through targeted interventions and grant funding. This could be disempowering for local government as a whole and will be particularly concerning for places that do not neatly fit the ‘levelling up’ profile.
The councillors elected today will have a huge job providing local leadership as we recover from the pandemic. They will have some tough decisions to make, so it’s vital we give them the powers and the tools they need to succeed and don’t succumb to the temptation of trying to control everything from the centre.”