Embargoed until: 00:01 Thursday 12 October, 2017
NEW REPORT CALLS FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF MAYORS’ SENATE AND COMMISSION ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE LED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT
LGiU says Government can no longer cherry pick powers handed down locally
A new report out today from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) argues for radical change to give leaders of cities and city regions a firm, constitutional role in directly tackling some of the countries biggest challenges: our response to Brexit, industrial strategy and reforms to local government finances.
“Beyond Devolution: the final report of the local democracy network” outlines a bold, radical programme to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It calls for the establishment of a Mayors’ Senate, a Commission on Local Government Finance led by local government, a constitutional settlement, and a reinvigoration of devolution.
The findings come from the LGiU’s Local Democracy Network (supported by James Madison Charitable Trust) made up of council leaders and chief executives, as well as senior academics and experts in the public sector. The report is a result of their year-long programme of research, including a series of roundtable discussions, which took an in-depth look at some of the biggest challenges facing local government.
Councils currently have very little certainty as to how they will be funded beyond 2020 and policies like the Government’s business rate retention scheme is in limbo. There was no mention at the Conservative Party conference of how the Government plans to rectify this. Local government must be allowed to take the lead.
Councils have managed huge budget reductions in the last decade, whilst maintaining essential services. The report finds that this can no longer continue. An open, inclusive conversation about how local areas are funded is essential, and it must be led by local government. Our report calls for a Commission on Local Government Finance to take this agenda forward.
A full copy of the report and recommendations is available here.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGiU, said:
“Democracy is at a crossroads. We cannot rely on central government alone to guide us through the enormous challenges that lie ahead. We need radical change that gives greater power to civic leaders outside Westminster and an overhaul of how local areas are funded, led by local government.
Our network of local leaders and experts from across the public sector has culminated in this report and we make bold recommendations, which LGiU will take forward over the coming year, including: the establishment of a Mayors’ Senate and Commission on Local Government Finance.
Central government has limited capacity and inclination to focus on local areas. It is local representatives who understand the pressures faced up and down the country, as well as the needs and aspirations of local communities. We need to draw on the innovation, civic energy and problem solving capacity that can be mobilised by local government, local communities and local leaders.
Ahead of the Autumn Budget next month, it is simply unacceptable that councils currently have no certainty as to how they will be funded beyond 2020. We should be talking about local government sustainability, not local government self-sufficiency, and giving councils the funding model they deserve.”
The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) is a think tank and membership body with over 200 councils and other organisations subscribing to our networks. We work to strengthen local democracy and put citizens in control of their own lives, communities and local services. For more information, visit lgiu.org.
For more information please contact: [email protected] (07825 617 927)
James Madison Charitable Trust was set up in 2000 to support and promote studies of federal government whether within or among states, including studies of processes that may led towards the establishment of such government, and to support or promote education and dissemination of knowledge of these subjects. For more information, visit www.jamesmadisoncharitabletrust.org.uk.