Whitehall

Local lockdown powers up in the air

27/05/2020

Council powers over calling a local lockdown are still to be thrashed out as the NHS’ test and trace system is formally launched.

LGA split over worker bonus

26/05/2020

A cross-party agreement that the Local Government Association (LGA) would lobby for a coronavirus payment to staff was ditched after senior councillors blocked the move, The MJ can reveal.

Councils given £300m and key tracking role

22/05/2020

Councils in England will be handed £300m by the Government as they are given a key role in driving forward testing and tracing. 

No-deal Brexit planning would 'overwhelm' emergency response

19/05/2020

Planning for a no-deal Brexit at the end of this year would ‘overwhelm’ the country’s emergency response capacity, the Government has been warned in a leaked report.

Councils resist government's changed 'stay alert' message

15/05/2020

Areas with higher coronavirus rates have urged residents to stay at home amid fears the Government’s change of message to ‘stay alert’ was confusing.

Leeds chief takes on key contract tracing role

13/05/2020

Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan will take on a key role in the Government’s contact tracing programme in the battle against coronavirus.

Unite expected to urge council pay offer rejection

11/05/2020

Trade union Unite is expected to recommend that its members reject the employers ‘final’ 2.75% pay offer at a national committee meeting later this week.

'Too early to tell' if councils need more cash, says Jenrick

07/05/2020

It is ‘too early to tell’ if councils will need more cash to tackle coronavirus, communities secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

MPs tell department to 'get a grip' on SEND

05/05/2020

The Department for Education (DfE) does not have a grip on mounting pressure in the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system, a watchdog has found.

Councils warn leisure providers at 'crisis point'

05/05/2020

Leisure providers are at a ‘crisis point’ as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, English and Welsh councils have warned.

Districts win in latest allocations

28/04/2020

Districts have won a significantly higher share of funding in the latest allocations of government cash to help councils cope with coronavirus.

Councils need another £12.8bn to cope with coronavirus - LGA

27/04/2020

Councils may need up to another £12.8bn from the Government to get through the coronavirus crisis, the chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA) has suggested.

Coronavirus could cost Government £246bn this year, think tank warns

21/04/2020

The coronavirus crisis is likely to cost the Government £246bn this year, a think tank has predicted.

Call for lifting of immigration rules

20/04/2020

Council leaders in England, Scotland and Wales have called for a temporary lifting of the immigration rules that stop some migrants accessing public funds.

Government league table plan causes fury

17/04/2020

Plans to publish a league table of how quickly councils are doling out grants to help businesses have been met with anger from local government.

Jenrick moves to ease cash flow pressures

16/04/2020

New measures to help ease immediate financial pressures faced by councils in England due to the coronavirus outbreak have been announced by the Government.

More PPE promised for social care

15/04/2020

Health secretary Matt Hancock has promised to increase supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to social care.

Thousands of firms receive financial help from councils

14/04/2020

Almost 100,000 small businesses across the country have already been paid a share of more than £1bn to help support them through the coronavirus crisis, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.

Former Lambeth leader takes on shadow communities role

06/04/2020

Former Lambeth LBC leader Steve Reed has become the new shadow communities and local government secretary replacing Andrew Gwynne.

Video conferencing first at council meeting

02/04/2020

A council used software to help decide key planning applications in what is believed to be the first meeting of its kind in the country.

Care providers in law change call

01/04/2020

Care providers have pleaded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change the law to boost staff numbers in the sector during the COVID-19 outbreak.

End of week rough sleeping deadline

27/03/2020

Councils have been asked to support rough sleepers into accommodation by the end of the week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Councils put at heart of coronavirus response

23/03/2020

Councils will be put at the heart of the response to coronavirus by delivering a national network of support to people at very high risk.

£3bn bed blocking coronavirus cash injection

19/03/2020

Almost £3bn of the Government’s £5bn Covid-19 funding will go towards freeing up at least 15,000 English hospital beds by the end of next week, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.

Budget 2020: Sunak reveals spending spree for first budget

11/03/2020

New chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a Budget to end austerity, boost productivity and tackle the problems created by coronavirus.  

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.

IfG: Extend outsourcing reforms to councils

04/03/2020

Government reforms of outsourcing to avoid another Carillion collapse must be extended to local government where commercial skills lag behind Whitehall, a report from the Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank has said.

Government urged to 'think big' to tackle regional inequalities

02/03/2020

A comprehensive review of economic decline and social division has called for a ‘large-scale, comprehensive, long-term and devolved’ plan of action to deliver change.

City region deal to be signed

25/02/2020

The Stirling and Clackmannanshire city region deal will be signed by council leaders and representatives of the UK and Scottish governments today.

Councils demand extra planning powers

19/02/2020

Councils have called on the Government to use its White Paper to give them powers to take action on unbuilt land that has planning permission.

Ministers in Leeds to thrash out devo deal

28/01/2020

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is meeting with ministers today to start thrashing out a devolution deal for the Leeds City Region.

Councils sent back to drawing board on SEND

28/01/2020

Councils have been sent back to the drawing board after a quango ripped apart their plans to recover massive special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) deficits.

Seven out of 10 councils overspend on homelessness

28/01/2020

Seven out of 10 English councils overspent their homelessness budgets in 2018/19 by a combined total of nearly £115m, Local Government Association (LGA) analysis has found.

Councils still being held back from building more homes finds report

07/01/2020

Local authorities are still being held back from providing more homes, a new report examining the future for council housing has argued.

Jenrick hails 'biggest multi-billion pound spending increase in a decade'

20/12/2019

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed what he describes as the ‘biggest multi-billion pound spending increase for councils in a decade’.

Whitehall silence as Gwynne calls for provisional settlement

17/12/2019

Shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne has called on ministers to publish the provisional finance settlement immediately amid silence on its timing from Whitehall.

Devolution revolution expected after Johnson wins

13/12/2019

Local government was this morning expecting a devolution revolution after Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a sweeping election win.

Public spending still lower than pre-recession, says IFS

07/11/2019

Planned hikes in public spending would still leave spending in 2020-21 3% lower than it was in 2010-11, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Government launches care recruitment drive

16/10/2019

The Department of Health and Social Care is set to launch the second phase of its advertising campaign to help fill 122,000 vacancies in social care.

Queen's Speech 19: Councils promised new powers to tackle pollution

14/10/2019

The Queen’s Speech promised an Environment Bill which will establish a ‘world-leading’ independent regulator, the Office for Environmental Protection, and hand some new powers to councils.

Queen's Speech 19: Devolution White Paper to set out 'structural reform'

14/10/2019

An English devolution White Paper is planned by the Government, it has been confirmed in the Queen’s Speech.

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.

DfE drive to check council readiness for Brexit

19/09/2019

The Department for Education (DfE) is attempting to gain a better understanding of school sector and council readiness just weeks before the Government’s Brexit deadline.

Treasury 'wasting money' in funding of local government

17/09/2019

The Treasury is wasting money in its funding of local government and needs to have a more place-based focus, according to a report from the respected Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank.

'Cracks' starting to show in electoral system

16/09/2019

Election administrators have warned of ‘cracks’ beginning to show in the electoral system with the prospect of another poll on the horizon.

Government warned resilience forums could be stretched

04/09/2019

Local resilience forums (LRFs) would be stretched if Brexit forced them into 24/7 operations over an extended period, the Government has been warned in a report leaked to The MJ.

New rules to increase housing deal transparency

02/09/2019

Councils will be legally required to publish deals with housing developers after new rules were introduced.

Future of work survey to inform thinking

19/08/2019

Local government workers have been invited to take part in a new survey on the future of work.

Universal Credit draining council resources

15/07/2019

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

Nearly £400m to be invested along the English and Scottish border

02/07/2019

Just under £395m is to be invested into five local authority areas on both sides of the border between England and Scotland, Whitehall and Holyrood say.

Johnson v Hunt

27/06/2019

As the race to become the next prime minister continues, Heather Jameson looks at what the candidates could mean for local government once Brexit is over.

EXCLUSIVE: Victory on variation

26/06/2019

The Treasury’s view of children’s services has been dealt a further blow after research linked 70% of spend variation to factors outside councils’ control.

Council to appeal 'town hall Pravdas' ruling

14/06/2019

Waltham Forest LBC will appeal after a judge backed Government attempts to stop it publishing a council newspaper every two weeks.

Call for leader to quit after 'repeated failures'

05/06/2019

Shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne has called for Northamptonshire CC leader, Matt Golby, to quit after ‘repeated failures’ in the council’s children’s services.

NAO to wade into fair funding review

05/06/2019

The National Audit Office (NAO) is gearing up to scrutinise the Government’s divisive fair funding review, The MJ can reveal.

Government pays £15m to councils after business rate 'error'

03/06/2019

The Government may have to pay out up to £15m to councils after it made yet another error in its business rate pilot administration.

Delay to Northamptonshire reorganisation welcomed

14/05/2019

Council leaders have welcomed the year-long delay to plans to create two new unitaries in Northamptonshire.

Stopping youth homelessness is 'patchy' says think tank

14/05/2019

A year after the Homelessness Reduction Act, progress on youth homelessness prevention is patchy across local authority areas, a think tank has revealed.

Brokenshire moves to boost local government accountability

09/05/2019

Brokenshire moves to impose fresh conditions on ‘top slice’ cash

Councils urged to 'embrace scrutiny'

08/05/2019

Councils have been urged to ‘embrace scrutiny’ of their spending decisions in new guidance issued by the Government.

Security fears after candidate addresses published

02/05/2019

Security concerns have been raised after a loophole forced councils to publish the home addresses of candidates standing in the EU elections.

Councils' role in asylum system to be bolstered

23/04/2019

Plans are being drawn up that will give councils more of a say in where asylum seekers are accommodated.

Concern over councils' ability to cope with polls

17/04/2019

Council chiefs have raised concerns with Government about the sector’s capacity to run EU elections so close on the heels of local polls.

Housing advisor fired for 'racist' comments

11/04/2019

The Government has sacked its housing advisor Sir Roger Scruton after the conservative philosopher appeared unrepentant about his claims that Hungarian Jews are part of a “Soros empire”.

Corbyn launches attack on fair funding review

11/04/2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has entered the debate over the fair funding review, claiming it ‘will make poorer areas even poorer’.

Call for inspection pause in case of Brexit hit

10/04/2019

Council chiefs have urged Whitehall to be ready to ease pressures on the sector for up to six months if Brexit threatens to stretch capacity.

Councils defend council tax hikes

27/03/2019

Councils have had ‘little choice’ but to raise council tax to protect local services, the Local Government Association has said, after the latest tax rises were revealed.

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 would create local government commission

11/02/2019

Labour would create a new commission that would allow councillors to influence every decision that affects local authorities if they won a General Election.

Call for tourism tax review

05/02/2019

An inquiry into cultural investment in cities has called for a UK-wide review of the benefits of a tourism tax.

Brokenshire gets Brexit breakdown from chiefs

31/01/2019

Chief executives have told communities secretary James Brokenshire Whitehall needs to be more joined up between departments and in its communications with councils over Brexit.

LGA faces financial headache

25/01/2019

Smith Square has acknowledged the financial challenges it faces as it freezes subscriptions while grappling with declining Government grants and a pension scheme deficit.

Auditors bid to explain real cause of difference in councils' spend on kids

23/01/2019

A nine-fold variation in spending on children’s social care could largely be down to ‘differences in characteristics’ between councils, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) study.

Buckinghamshire districts threaten legal action over unitary plan

21/01/2019

Two Buckinghamshire districts have written to the Government warning they could launch legal proceedings over plans to create a single county unitary.

Whitehall 'leadership' needed to help councils cope with financial pressures

15/01/2019

The Government must improve oversight and transparency over local authorities to ensure their financial sustainability, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

Watchdog highlights councils' weak financial plans

10/01/2019

The number of public bodies in England with weak financial plans is ‘unacceptably high,’ the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.

Ministers play down commercialisation 'crackdown'

10/01/2019

Ministers have played down the prospect of a widespread crackdown on councils that borrow for commercial reasons.

Rudd delays Universal Credit rollout

07/01/2019

Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd has delayed the next phase of the Universal Credit (UC) rollout amid ongoing concerns over the controversial system.

Consultation plans for council tree felling proposed

03/01/2019

Councils would be required to consult residents before cutting down trees in urban areas under Government plans.

Councils warn of impact of public health funding cuts

21/12/2018

Councils have reacted angrily to ‘short-sighted’ cuts to public health funding next year by the Government.

Finance settlement: Government floats commercialisation crackdown

13/12/2018

Whitehall is considering a crackdown on councils that excessively borrow for commercial reasons as it continues to restrict council tax rises.

Anderson quits Northern Powerhouse Partnership in frustration

10/12/2018

Former chancellor George Osborne has voiced sympathy with Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson’s decision to quit the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Local government finance settlement delayed by Brexit debate

05/12/2018

Today's provisional local government finance settlement has been delayed – just weeks after Whitehall agreed to bring it forward and fix a date.

Northants can use £70m in capital receipts to plug finance gap

29/11/2018

Northamptonshire CC will be allowed to use £70m in capital receipts to plug its financial black hole, local government secretary James Brokenshire has ruled. 

Brexit will not halt economic growth, says Walkley

29/11/2018

Economic growth will not grind to a halt when we leave the European Union, chief executive of Homes England Nick Walkley has predicted.

MHCLG ‘not expecting another Northamptonshire situation’

26/11/2018

Local government finances are sustainable and the collapse of another authority is not expected, the ministry’s top civil servant has insisted.

Universal Credit bad for people's health - academics

15/11/2018

Universal Credit (UC) is bad for health and wellbeing, academics have found in a new study commissioned by Gateshead MBC.

Brokenshire in shared prosperity fund threat

15/11/2018

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has threatened to withhold the shared prosperity fund (SPF) from areas that fail to remove local enterprise partnership (LEP) overlaps.

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.

Councils losing millions through tax loophole

07/11/2018

A loophole that could be costing English local authorities millions in lost council tax is to be reviewed by ministers.

Single unitary council for Bucks gets the go-ahead

01/11/2018

Buckinghamshire’s five councils are to be scrapped in favour of a single county-wide unitary, communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced.

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.

No-deal Brexit disruption warning

31/10/2018

Local authorities have been warned to prepare for up to three months of disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Budget 2018: Hammond praises local government

29/10/2018

In a Budget billed as the end of austerity, chancellor Phillip Hammond praised local government’s contribution to rescuing public finances and doled out cash for adult social care, mental health, high streets and roads.

Budget 2018: Billion-pound Universal Credit pledge

29/10/2018

A billion pounds has been promised in an attempt to ease benefits claimants’ transition to Universal Credit.

Budget 2018: £800m cash injection for social care

29/10/2018

Social care has been given an £800m boost in today’s Budget after chancellor Philip Hammond said he recognised the ‘immediate pressures’ local authorities were facing.

Budget 2018: Cash for care could be swallowed up by rates relief

28/10/2018

Chancellor Phillip Hammond is expected to announce nearly a billion pounds for social care in an austerity-busting budget later today.

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.

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