Politics | LocalGov

Home Office 'chaos' leaves thousands of illegal arrivals in 'perma-backlog'


The Government’s struggling asylum policy has heaped significant demand on cities’ housing services, experts have warned.

Further planning reforms on way, says Gove


Empty shops could be quickly converted into homes and developers given fresh incentives to build on brownfield sites under ministers’ latest plans to expedite housebuilding.

Wales could drive agenda on council tax, report argues


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.

Local government figures made peers


Local government has been recognised in the latest round of peerages, with two senior figures heading to the House of Lords. 

Core Cities in Household Support Fund warning


Failing to extend the Household Support Fund will be ‘catastrophic for many people in our poorest communities,’ Core Cities has warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

DLUHC claims four-day week council saw spike in agency staff


South Cambridgeshire DC’s controversial four-day week trial is under fresh scrutiny after data revealed a spike in agency work and opponents challenged costs.

MPs criticise ‘glacial’ progress of levelling up projects


Mandarins from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities faced the Public Accounts Committee.

Welsh minister backs tax reforms


One of the candidates to become first minister of Wales has backed reform of council tax.

LGA poised to shift position on Right to Buy


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

Norfolk devolution schedule delayed


Norfolk’s level 3 devolution deal is set to be pushed back to 2025.

Councils welcome PWLB rate extension


Councils have welcomed Jeremy Hunt’s decision to extend preferential Public Works Loan Board borrowing rates for Housing Revenue Account (HRA) expenditure.

EXCLUSIVE: Oflog pushes ahead with early warning system


Senior Oflog officials are pressing ahead with their plans to create an early warning system for councils in trouble despite continuing LGA resistance.

Councils brace as Supreme Court outlaws Rwanda asylum plan


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.

Housing minister among casualties of Sunak reshuffle


The UK will have its 16th housing minister in 12 years after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s sweeping reshuffle affected the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

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


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.

DLUHC blasted over levelling up failure


The levelling up department has been blasted for failing to deliver its remit by a senior sector figure.

Emergency summit held amid temporary accommodation warnings


More than 150 councils this week attended an emergency summit as the cost of temporary accommodation to local authorities increases rapidly.

Labour regeneration plans will fail 'without radical action'


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

Levelling up Bill to become law


Royal Assent is scheduled to take place later today, when the Bill will officially become an Act of Parliament.

EXCLUSIVE: Home Office accused of misleading council over asylum plans


The Home Office faces accusations in the High Court it misled a council over controversial plans for an asylum centre at a former military base.

Child abuse inquiry chair criticises Government response


The chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has warned ministers’ response to her recommendations has been ‘weak’.

Chiefs' new professional development framework launched


The first version of a new professional development framework to keep local government chief executives ‘ahead of the game’ has been launched.

Guildford leader survives confidence vote


Guildford BC’s leader has survived a vote of no confidence over the authority’s finances.

Labour to tackle 'antiquated planning system'


Labour has pledged to overhaul the planning system in a bid to ease the progress of infrastructure projects.

Gove attacks four-day week 'nonsense' in conference speech


Local government secretary Michael Gove delivered a speech to the Conservative Party Conference light on new policies and laden with election slogans.

Screeching U-turn on waste proposals


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

Bentley insists level two devolution 'best option' for county


Essex CC’s Conservative leader Kevin Bentley has insisted that a level two devolution deal is the ‘best option’ for the county.

Government fails to block levelling up Bill amendments


The Government suffered a flurry of last-minute defeats as the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill completed its journey through the House of Lords.

Government defeated over planning fees


Councils would be able to vary fees for planning applications under amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

Lords block plans to scrap nutrient neutrality rules


The Government’s attempt to scrap nutrient neutrality rules has been defeated in the House of Lords.

Mandatory housing targets rejected


An amendment to the levelling up Bill for mandatory housebuilding targets has been rejected by the House of Lords.

Lords inflict defeats on levelling up Bill


The Government faces a race against time to get its flagship levelling up Bill into law after peers inflicted a string of defeats.

EXCLUSIVE: Housing pressures may push councils into effective bankruptcy


Rising housing pressures will force some councils to effectively declare bankruptcy, a local authority chief executive with more than 40 years of experience in the sector has warned.

Rayner takes levelling up role as Starmer shuffles his pack


Labour leader Keir Starmer has appointed his deputy Angela Rayner as the party’s new shadow levelling up secretary.

South East Councils to consider devolution of vehicle excise duty


The devolution of vehicle excise duty (VED) will be among the options expected to be considered by a London Finance Commission-style investigation.

Gove to ease nutrient neutrality requirements


Ministers have announced they will ease divisive development rules on water pollution blamed for low housebuilding rates in rural areas.

Fresh calls to raise local housing allowance


Calls have been made for ministers to increase local housing allowance (LHA) after research revealed 85% of English councils are facing a rise in homelessness.

Tories call for tax cuts to boost housing


A group of Conservative MPs has called for tax cuts for areas where new housing is built.

Boycott Bill faces Scottish opposition


The UK Government’s planned ban on council boycotts is facing opposition from Holyrood.

‘Mass exodus’ claims at North Lincolnshire


North Lincolnshire Council is facing a ‘mass exodus’ of senior staff, opposition members have claimed.

Rowley insists Oflog will not take over audit


A minister has been forced to clarify that Oflog is not attempting to replace the council audit system.

Fresh LGA drive to influence MPs over skills


The Local Government Association has proposed to establish a skills and employment working group as it seeks to influence MPs ahead of the election.

Nutrient neutrality row goes to No10


Council leaders have used a Downing Street summit to urge No10 to break the deadlock in a dispute over nutrient neutrality.

Exploitation warning after Illegal Migration Bill becomes law


Unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) could be in danger of being exploited after the Illegal Migration Act created an incentive for them to run away.

First asylum barge arrives


A controversial barge for 500 asylum seekers today arrived at its mooring off the Dorset coast.

Overton rejects breakaway Green group idea


The re-elected leader of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) independents has rejected the idea of a breakaway Green group.

Tory MPs oppose boycotts ban


Government moves to ban councils from imposing their own boycotts has faced opposition from Conservative benches.

Hancock: Whitehall oversight of care was terrible


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

'No progress' on devolution to London


The capital appears to have ‘taken a step backwards’ on devolution, a former chair of London Councils has said.

Sheffield apologises 'unreservedly' for trees dispute


Sheffield City Council has apologised ‘unreservedly’ after a report found the authority mishandled a dispute over the felling of thousands of healthy trees.

Councils call for more radical thinking on short-term lets


Whitehall proposals to regulate short-term holiday lets fail to deliver what is needed to tackle housing shortages and ministers should think ‘more radically,’ councils have said.

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


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


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

Questions over council land purchase proposals


Labour's proposed legislation would allow councils to buy land at agricultural values using compulsory purchase orders.

Gove approves Teesworks probe


Local government secretary Michael Gove has given the green light for a probe into Teesworks corruption claims.

Ministers promise CSA compensation scheme


Ministers have promised a compensation scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) including those abused in council care.

New leader for Brum after Labour ousts Ward


The national Labour Party has selected Cllr John Cotton as the new leader of Birmingham City Council Labour group after its intervention last week.

Court case looms after election blunder


A councillor who gained the most votes at a recent election faces a court case for her seat after a blunder led officials to announce the wrong winner.

'Widespread industrial action' warning


Unite has warned the Scottish Government and employers there ‘could be widespread industrial action’ without a ‘significant increase’ to the current pay offer.

Compulsory purchase changes a 'slippery slope'


A row has broken out in the House of Lords over proposed changes to compulsory purchase orders (CPOs).

Council staff respond to Sudan evacuation


Councils have been urged to ‘apply maximum flexibility’ when UK nationals returning from Sudan present as homeless.

Betts questions Treasury trust of DLUHC


An MP has criticised a ministerial response, warning it fails to ‘dispute the notion the Treasury no longer appears to trust’ the levelling up department.

Peers' warning over supported housing reforms


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

Tories expect to lose 1,000 seats


The Conservatives are braced to lose 1,000 council seats in next month’s local elections.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s time for a new Audit Commission’


An ex-senior mandarin has today called for a new Audit Commission as The MJ reveals the draft metrics the Government is considering for its new watchdog.

Councils concerned over Afghan removal plan


Councils have expressed deep concerns about Government plans to remove Afghan refugees from hotel accommodation amid ‘chronic’ shortage of affordable housing.

Labour pledges to revitalise high streets


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

Councils warning over Prevent reforms


Councils have raised serious concerns about the Government’s proposed Prevent counter-extremism strategy reforms.

Pension changes could ease recruitment pressure


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


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

Betts demands answers after Treasury clampdown on DLUHC spending


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

Croydon approves 15% tax hike


Croydon LBC has approved a 15% council tax increase as part of a 2023-24 budget that was originally rejected.

LGA to beef up council oversight amid Oflog fears


The Local Government Association (LGA) today revealed plans to beef up its oversight of councils in an effort to stave off Government interference.

Levelling up Bill ‘insulting’ to districts


Peers have called for greater recognition of district councils in combined county authorities (CCAs).

Bed blocking down by just 3% a month on from £250m plan


The Government’s £250m initiative to speed up hospital discharges reduced the number of bed blockers by less than 3% in its first month.

LGA-backed coalition in fresh plea for Government leisure support


A coalition including the Local Government Association has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warning of the ‘final straw’ for many gyms, pools and clubs.

Number of homeless Ukrainian refugees mounts


Politicians have made a cross-party call to extend support for Ukrainian refugees to prevent them becoming homeless.

Levelling up director appointed amid recruitment uncertainty


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.

Pocklington to leave DLUHC amid Whitehall changes


Permanent secretary Jeremy Pocklington will leave the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) amid a series of Whitehall changes.

Eastleigh finance review to start


The Government has commissioned a review of Eastleigh BC’s finances to start this week after concerns over its debt levels.

Sector given role in NHS plan


Local government will join an ‘expert group’ with the community sector and care providers to ‘build adult social care capacity’ as part of a new NHS plan.

Gove scales up Thurrock intervention


Michael Gove has effectively ordered a full intervention of Thurrock Council amid fresh concerns over the authority’s governance, scrutiny and operating model.

Levelling up directors could be scrapped


Plans to appoint a dozen levelling up directors may be scrapped, a minister has admitted.

Districts' legal threat over devolution deal


Four Norfolk districts have threatened to take legal action over the county’s handling of a devolution deal struck with Government.

Starmer makes devolution bill pledge


A swathe of new powers would be devolved from central Government under a Labour administration, leader Sir Kier Starmer has promised in a key speech.

Gove demands answers after maladministration findings


Michael Gove has demanded answers from Lambeth LBC and Birmingham City Council after the ombudsman found severe maladministration in their complaints handling.

Districts push for council tax flexibility


Districts are pushing the Government to allow them to increase council tax by more than 3% or £5 without a referendum.

Minister accepts early intervention is 'critical'


Early intervention is ‘critical,’ minister concedes as Government told to publish its delayed plan for implementing children’s social care recommendations.

Onshore wind restrictions to be relaxed


The Government has proposed to ease planning restrictions on onshore wind farms.

Labour outlines huge devolution push


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

Reeves to make case for economic devolution


The shadow chancellor will make the case for ‘deeper and broader’ economic devolution as Labour stresses the need for ‘more local powers’ over the economy.

Rural services 'may be lost' without funding formula


Ministers should implement the 2013-14 funding formula which promised to improve rural finances before measures were dampened or risk losing key countryside services, experts have argued.

Devolution not enough to fix governance, say MPs


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

District frustration after county blocks investment zone bid


Cherwell DC has expressed frustration after its county council blocked a bid to create an investment zone in the county.

Long-buried report reveals 'organisational dysfunction'


‘Organisational dysfunction at the most senior level’ of Croydon LBC has been laid bare in a long-buried report leaked to The MJ.

Nandy pledges to boost council housing


Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy this week vowed to end the political ‘vandalism’ of UK social housing stock.

Councils to decide on infrastructure levy spending


Councils will have more freedom on spending funds from the infrastructure levy under a Government amendment to the Levelling Up Bill.

Clarke appointed as local government secretary


Local government has given new local government secretary Simon Clarke a guarded welcome after he was appointed by new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

'Fierce resistance' to threatened strike clampdown


Any attempt by new Prime Minister Liz Truss to outlaw strikes will be met with ‘fierce resistance,’ trade union Unite has warned.

Nottingham escapes commissioners threat


Ministers have held back from appointing commissioners at Nottingham City Council, instead deciding to strengthen the powers of its improvement and assurance board.

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