Lobby Day follow up
Every year NALC hosts a Lobby Day (this year on 2nd February), this normally takes place at the Houses of Parliament. This year it all took place remotely.
GAPTC wrote to our six MP's to invite them to meet us and highlight the three national priorities as follows:
At a local COVID-19 mitigation / local council funding
Local councils must be granted a share of COVID-19 mitigation funding for local government to help reduce the financial impact on their communities – only one area has received such funding since 2020 (Cornwall). Many larger local (parish and town) councils who did not rely solely on their precept for income – lost income on revenue generating facilities being closed earlier in 2020-21. Local councils have a huge role to play in supporting their communities to recover from the pandemic but require financial assistance to best do this. Access for local councils to the Income Compensation Scheme is also needed. NALC notes that local councils have been exempted for 2021-22 from referendum principles on excessive council tax increases, but this needs to be made permanent. Local councils also need full access to apply for central government funding sources.
Remote meetings for local councils
That legislation be drafted in due course to make permanent the right given in COVID-19 emergency legislation for local councils to be able to hold remote (and future hybrid) meetings. Recent evidence suggests an increase in attendance online from many local councillors, including those on local councils in remote rural areas. NALC would like a permanent extension of the ability for these councils to meet remotely after the COVID-19 legislation expires.
Local council elections 2021
Despite a recent confirmation from MHCLG that its current intention was not to defer the local council elections in May 2021 it is crucial that for certainty and forward planning purposes, the May local council elections proceed where possible. It would be disastrous if planned local council elections for May 2021 do not proceed across the 12 English county areas that they are due to take place in. NALC urges the government to commit to these elections taking place.
The local elections are going ahead so the focus remains in the first two points.
We have received responses back from Alex Chalk (Cheltenham), Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown (Cotswolds) and Siobhan Bailey (Stroud) declining our offer to meet at this time, but we will continue to press them.
We have had received no response at this time form Mark Harper (FOD), Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) and Richard Graham (Gloucester).
Posted: Thu, 18 Feb 2021 12:53 by Alison Robinson