The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on all political parties to commit to its plan to boost local services and drive economic growth. The full document can be seen here.
It should come as no surprise that local public service funding is one of the association’s main asks. As it stands, local government is facing a funding gap of more than £5bn by 2020.
On housing, the LGA says that “local government shares the nation’s collective ambition to build more homes.” In order for local government to participate in actually achieving this ambition, the LGA has asked the political parties to allow councils to recycle a greater portion of receipts generated through Right to Buy sales into new housing, and to grant more freedom to local authorities to directly contribute to housing supply.
Brexit is seen by many in local government as an important devolution opportunity. Included in the LGA’s plan is a request that the next Government adopts the principle of double devolution as a means to ensure powers repatriated from the EU do not stop at the parliamentary HQs around the UK. Significantly, the LGA has also highlighted their members’ desire to seek a commitment from the Government to work with local government to develop a locally driven replacement of the EU’s regional aid mechanism, to help local areas “continue to thrive and contribute to the national wealth of our nation.”
Social care is another area where local councils face severe pressure. In its plan for the next five years, the LGA wants the next Government to close the £2.3bn funding gap that is facing social care, and to commit to a formal review to help secure a longer term sustainable solution to adult social care.
Speaking about its plan for local government, LGA chairman Lord Porter said:
‘The need for financial sustainability for local government is urgent. Councils need fairer funding to continue to provide the full range of services that support their local communities, alongside a fairer funding system for all schools.
‘To build new homes, create jobs, provide the dignified care for our elderly and disabled and boost economic growth, all councils also need greater freedom from central government to take decisions over vital services in their area.
‘Local government’s offer to all political parties is clear – commit to these key policy pledges and we will deliver.’