Policy | LocalGov

Government timetable could push councils to issue section 114s

16/02/2024

Government’s timeline for implementing changes to tackle risky borrowing by some councils could end up pushing councils into S114 territory, treasurers warn.

Wales could drive agenda on council tax, report argues

12/02/2024

Wales could have a chance to deal with unfairness in the council tax system and drive the agenda for other nations and regions to follow, says think-tank.

Officer warning over street votes

06/02/2024

Council officers have issued a scathing response to plans for street-level planning votes – dismissing the idea as a costly ‘proliferation of polls’.

Health boost for Housing First residents, research finds

01/02/2024

Housing First – under which homeless people are guaranteed a home while they access support – reduces demand on health and social care services, study finds.

Local plan review process ‘ineffective’

18/01/2024

Reform is urgently required to improve the local plan review process and increase the number of up-to-date plans, according to new research.

LGA poised to shift position on Right to Buy

06/12/2023

Smith Square is poised to amend its position on Right to Buy, The MJ has learned.

Economic pessimism a ‘damning indictment’ of levelling up

20/11/2023

Half of people think Conservative policies would have a negative impact on their local economy over the next five years, a think-tank has found.

Councils brace as Supreme Court outlaws Rwanda asylum plan

15/11/2023

The Supreme Court has ruled the UK’s controversial proposal to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful – a decision likely to impact local government.

Local government plays a vital role in the work of House of Lords committees

08/11/2023

Baroness Kate Parminter, chair of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee, argues that the local government voice is crucial for committees to understand how government policy is impacting communities.

Council bankruptcies underline the need for good governance

06/11/2023

Penny Rinta-Suksi, partner at law firm Blake Morgan, argues that innovative policies that aim to enable efficient service delivery must be built on the foundations of good governance.

Labour regeneration plans will fail 'without radical action'

31/10/2023

An incoming Labour government’s regeneration plans will fail without radical action to devolve financial decision-making, researchers have warned.

Councils 'vital' to social prescribing success

09/10/2023

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has said local authorities are ‘vital’ to the success of social prescribing as it called for a national strategy.

Screeching U-turn on waste proposals

21/09/2023

The Government has claimed it is scrapping its ‘top-down approach’ on recycling while still ensuring ‘all homes in England recycle the same materials’.

Local government funding system has 'broken down'

15/08/2023

The funding system for local government has ‘broken down’ and what councils currently receive from Whitehall and council tax barely reflects need, a think-tank has warned.

'Flawed' climate change advice putting pension funds at risk

27/07/2023

Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) funds are being put at risk by ‘flawed’ advice on the financial impact of climate change, according to a new study.

Hancock: Whitehall oversight of care was terrible

27/06/2023

Whitehall oversight of adult social care before Covid-19 was ‘terrible’ and officials had no understanding of whether councils could cope, Matt Hancock admits.

Progress on devolution 'too slow' - LGA vice-president

16/06/2023

A Local Government Association vice-president has expressed ‘serious concerns about the Government’s increasing desire to centralise local service delivery across England out of Whitehall’.

Poor pandemic planning criticised

13/06/2023

Public health directors have criticised the Government’s Covid-19 preparedness – warning Whitehall must utilise council expertise to avoid repeat.

Councils 'not ready' for Met's mental health withdrawal

30/05/2023

Councils are not ready for the consequences of the Metropolitan Police Services’ decision to withdraw from non-emergency mental health callouts, experts warn.

'Devastating implications' warning over data threat

30/05/2023

A Government threat to suspend council access to DWP data will have ‘devastating implications’ if Whitehall follows through, an expert has warned.

Council estate demolition should be 'last resort'

26/05/2023

Demolition of council estates should be the ‘last resort’ for local authorities while ‘meaningful’ residents’ ballots must become compulsory, academics say.

Peers' warning over supported housing reforms

24/04/2023

Ministers must avoid forcing high-quality supported housing providers from the market in their rush to tackle rogue landlords, peers have warned.

Labour pledges to revitalise high streets

12/04/2023

Labour will today promote its plan to revitalise ailing high streets through a £700m fund to help small businesses with soaring energy bills.

Pension changes could ease recruitment pressure

21/03/2023

Changes to the pension rules could ease the pressure on senior recruitment in local government, sector figures have suggested.

Budget 2023: Hunt to boost mayors' financial autonomy

15/03/2023

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced the Government will ‘boost mayors’ financial autonomy’ in his Budget.

Betts demands answers after Treasury clampdown on DLUHC spending

14/03/2023

A senior MP has written to ministers raising concerns about the Treasury’s oversight of Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities capital spending.

Councils should become primary provider of childcare, survey finds

06/03/2023

Councils should become the primary provider of state-subsidised childcare designed to get parents back to work and boost productivity, a new survey has found.

Levelling up director appointed amid recruitment uncertainty

17/02/2023

The Government is still ‘reviewing the recruitment process for levelling up directors’ despite appointing an ex-Number 10 official to a role with same title.

Treasury tightens grip over DLUHC spending

08/02/2023

New capital projects by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will now have to be approved by the Treasury.

Anti-social behaviour should be top priority, says report

07/02/2023

Tackling anti-social behaviour must become a central tenet of levelling up if the agenda is to succeed, a think-tank has warned.

Labour outlines huge devolution push

05/12/2022

Labour proposes removing ‘dead hand of centralisation’ by devolving to local government wide-ranging powers over employment, growth, transport and education.

Think-tank urges litter and fly-tipping crackdown

07/11/2022

Councils should be required to use outsourced firms if they fail to enforce litter and fly-tipping laws, a think-tank has suggested.

Devolution not enough to fix governance, say MPs

31/10/2022

Governance in England is not fit for purpose and devolution plans are not enough to fix the problems, MPs have claimed.

Employers warn against local pay deals

19/07/2022

Councils have been warned against undermining the ‘fundamental integrity’ of national talks by agreeing local deals as pressure grows on pay.

Government urged to scale up levelling up

18/07/2022

The Government is focusing on the right issues as part of its levelling up agenda but needs to dramatically scale up investment and effort, according to the Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank.

'Agile working policies' prompt council move

13/07/2022

A post-pandemic office move expected to save a council more than £2m over the next 10 years has been given the green light.

Minister delays self-funding care reforms

07/07/2022

Residential care self-funders will not be able to ask their council to arrange care for them at the lower local authority rate until April 2025, minister Gillian Keegan has announced.

North-South self-funding split revealed

07/07/2022

The South East has the highest proportion of self-funders in community care services and the North East the lowest, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Radical changes needed in children's social care, review urges

23/05/2022

Ministers face a ‘pivotal’ moment in children’s social care, with radical changes needed to stop tens of thousands more youngsters entering the system, an independent review has warned.

UK comes under pressure to adopt rights charter

26/04/2022

Local leaders will continue to be ‘heavily constrained’ until the UK follows through on its promise to guarantee the rights of local government in law, a sector expert has warned.

Levelling up plans will fail, IfG report claims

31/03/2022

The Government’s plans for levelling up will not cut regional inequality, a report from the influential Institute for Government (IfG) has claimed.

Councillors complain of lack of powers

07/03/2022

More than two out of three (68%) councillors in England feel they lack sufficient powers to represent the needs of their communities, a survey today by the Electoral Reform Society campaign group has found.

Powers warning ahead of new deals

07/12/2021

A new report today warns areas reluctant to accept directly-elected leaders in the next wave of devolution deals may be offered ‘fewer powers and flexibilities’.

LGA warning over soaring care costs

23/11/2021

Soaring adult and children’s care costs mean councils could ‘soon fail to support everyone they need to,’ town halls have warned.

Gove warned of climate change floods risk

22/11/2021

Local government secretary Michael Gove was today urged to align UK housing policy with climate change.

Leaders lay out plans for 'just transition' to net-zero

08/11/2021

Council and combined authority leaders have detailed plans for a ‘just transition’ to net-zero as new research revealed nine million people could be hit economically.

Think-tank makes call for wellbeing budgets

18/10/2021

The Government should introduce ‘wellbeing budgets’ that look beyond gross domestic product (GDP) to reduce regional health inequalities, a think-tank has urged.

County areas chase devo dream

17/08/2021

County areas are lining up to strike one of the first tranche of devolution deals.

Government threatens borrowing cap return

29/07/2021

The Government has threatened to apply statutory borrowing caps on councils that continue to expose themselves to excessive risk.

Johnson: Bring your devolution plans to me

15/07/2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for local leaders to take their devolution plans to him in a keynote speech from the West Midlands this morning.

Reed accuses government of dropping devolution

07/07/2021

Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed has accused the Government of dropping its commitment to devolution.

Queen's Speech: Controversial voter ID plans roll forward

11/05/2021

Voter ID is expected to be introduced by May 2023 after the Government pledged to introduce legislation to ‘ensure the integrity of elections’.

Devolution White Paper to be replaced by levelling up proposals

04/05/2021

A levelling up White Paper will replace the long-awaited policy document on devolution and local recovery.

Homelessness charity calls for Home Office rules to be scrapped

21/04/2021

Home Office rules ‘undermine’ efforts to end rough sleeping and should be ‘scrapped immediately,’ a charity has said.

Councils to be given five years to spend Right to Buy receipts

22/03/2021

Councils will be given five years to spend receipts from Right to Buy sales as part of an overhaul of the key housing policy, local government secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.

Think tank's launches levelling up Big Bang theory

15/02/2021

The Government should launch a Northern Big Bang to ‘unleash a torrent of investment into the Northern economy’ says a report from a Conservative think-tank.

Crisis call for return of Everyone In

04/11/2020

The chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis has called for ring-fenced funding for councils to provide COVID-safe accommodation for anyone at risk of rough sleeping.

Planning proposals will 'disempower' councils

28/09/2020

The Lib Dems have used their autumn conference to warn that the Government’s planning proposals will ‘disempower’ councils.

ADASS issues stark warning as White Paper faces further delays

17/09/2020

The social care system risks complete breakdown experts have warned as it emerged that the long-awaited White Paper has been delayed again until next year.

LEPs need capacity boost to improve delivery, research finds

07/09/2020

Local enterprise partnerships (LEP) would be better at delivering large-scale capital projects if they had more capacity, independent research for the Government has found.

Leader of Northumberland Council is deposed

03/09/2020

The leader of a scandal-hit council compared to North Korea has been deposed after a vote of no confidence at a fiery meeting.

Councils facing £2bn budget black hole

18/08/2020

Councils face a budget black hole of £2bn this year due to unfunded coronavirus costs, a new study has found.

Better response to pandemic from European councils, says think-tank

16/07/2020

Local government across Europe has been able to react to the coronavirus crisis with greater power and autonomy than in the UK, a report published today has found.

Combined authority 'spending reserves like it's going out of fashion'

17/06/2020

Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s chief executive has expressed doubts about whether his region would be able to cope with a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Budget 2020: New West Yorkshire mayor announced

11/03/2020

A new directly-elected West Yorkshire mayor has been announced with the Government signing a new devolution deal amid plans to ‘level up’ the UK economy.

Will local authorities become airspace planners?

28/01/2020

Chris Gee explains what councils need to consider when creating a drones policy.

Medway caves after Ombudsman rap

16/01/2020

Medway Council has finally accepted the recommendations in a Local Government Ombudsman public interest report after a two-year stand-off.

Former housing minister warns of ‘a new generation of slum housing’

16/01/2020

A former housing minister has warned that national planning policy needs ‘a radical rethink’ in order to promote the wellbeing of communities.

Over 12,000 Blue Badges granted to people with ‘hidden disabilities’

02/01/2020

Thousands of people with hidden disabilities have benefitted from the Government’s extended Blue Badge scheme, new figures reveal.

Welfare reform drives ‘sofa surfing’, council chiefs warn

23/12/2019

Council leaders have called on the Government to adapt welfare reforms as research finds changes to the benefits system have been a driver of ‘sofa surfing’.

Parish councillors call for childcare support

23/12/2019

Local councillors have urged the new Government to reform rules which prevent them from being able to claim childcare costs.

County leaders call for an end to ‘city centric policy obsession’

18/12/2019

Councils have urged the new Government to focus less on cities and to invest more in towns and deprived communities to help level up ‘left-behind’ areas.

Oxford CC publishes £19m climate emergency budget

17/12/2019

Oxford City Council has outlined a £19m climate emergency budget to help the authority become a zero carbon council in 2020.

All politics is local - and policymaking should be too

05/11/2019

Nadine Smith explains how local governments can achieve real public impact by building relationships based on trust and engaging with citizens to solve some of the complex challenges of local governance.

Guidance to help cash-strapped councils deliver policies published

16/10/2019

New guidance cautions local authorities that have been hit hard by austerity against using untested programmes in disadvantaged areas.

Javid promises devolution White Paper

30/09/2019

A new White Paper to more powers to local areas was announced in the Chancellor’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today.

Core Cities' £28bn Shared Prosperity Fund warning

26/09/2019

The proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) must be worth at least £28bn over seven years if the UK is to deliver its devolved policy objectives, a leading sector body has warned.

Crime-fighting funds in scarce supply - survey

21/08/2019

Three out of four UK council chief executives and leaders do not have access to enough funding to tackle rising levels of violent youth crime, a survey has found.

Universal Credit draining council resources

15/07/2019

Universal Credit (UC) is draining resources from councils, a new survey has found.

Think tank suggests introduction of local income tax

21/03/2019

Local income tax would be the best option for fiscal devolution if the Government wanted to hand more powers to local authorities, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) argued today.

Sector fumes over lack of pre-Brexit briefing

21/02/2019

Councils have threatened to walk away from Government attempts to engage with them on Brexit amid growing frustrations about the response to their concerns.

Brokenshire slams door on One Yorkshire plan

12/02/2019

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has told regional leaders that their plans for a One Yorkshire metro mayor fails to meet the Government’s devolution criteria.

Labour hits out at housing cash shift

12/11/2018

Labour has called for all areas to receive greater Government backing after Whitehall shifted the focus of its housing cash.

Councillors silenced on secret fiscal devolution report

31/10/2018

Senior councillors have been warned not to talk about a secret Local Government Association (LGA) report that models what fiscal devolution might look like, The MJ has been told.

Ministry moves on Brexit

24/10/2018

Senior Marsham Street officials have stepped up their preparations for Brexit after complaints from frustrated councils that they were being shut out of the process.

Recycling rates could be boosted by fraud, says auditors

23/07/2018

The UK’s success at recycling may be being boosted by fraudulent exports of unrecyclable materials, auditors have claimed.

Northern Irish councils call for further devolution

21/06/2018

The time is now right to extend the responsibilities of local government in Northern Ireland through greater devolution from Stormont, a new report said today.

Whitehall grabs £875m Right to Buy receipts

25/04/2018

Labour has demanded immediate Right to Buy (RTB) reforms after figures obtained by The MJ revealed the amount councils lose to Whitehall under the regime.

Labour outlines housing policy

19/04/2018

Labour would scrap right to buy, and give councils new borrowing freedoms and central funding in a bid to kick-start house building, the party said today.

Scrap 'outdated and regressive council tax, says think tank

20/03/2018

Council tax is ‘outdated and regressive’, and the Government should consider scrapping it in favour of a fairer system, according to a think tank.

Five councils to help with Government integration plan

14/03/2018

The Government will work with five local authorities to develop integration plans as it develops a national strategy for England, it has announced today.

Labour accuses Government of 'holding back' local government

29/01/2018

Labour MPs have urged ministers to provide ‘strategic vision’ for local government.

Scottish government under pressure over council pay

22/01/2018

Scotland’s Government is under pressure to reverse planned council budget cuts after MSPs warned ministers created an ‘expectation’ town hall staff would receive pay hikes.

Councils win high-value home reprieve

20/12/2017

Local authorities will not be forced to sell high-value council homes until at least April 2019 after lobbying from the sector.

Budget 2017: Housing Revenue Account cap lifted for some

22/11/2017

The Housing Revenue Account cap will be lifted for councils in ‘high-demand areas’ and stamp duty will be scrapped for most first-time buyers, chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his Budget speech today.

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