Councils are at the heart of strong and thriving communities. To ensure every resident lives in a safe environment in which they can prosper, Government must support the development of a 21st century fire service, give local areas the powers to make decisions about transport at a local level and drive fast and reliable digital connectivity across the country.
We're calling on the Government to:
- continue to support the development of a 21st century fire service, fit to play a leading role in keeping people safe, and having an expanded role in supporting healthier communities by working with the health service
- commit to transferring governance of the fire service to the police and crime commissioner only where there is local agreement to do so
- bring forward proposals to reduce the stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) to £2 as part of the current review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures. It should also strengthen councils' powers to limit the opening of new betting shops in places where there are already existing clusters
- respond to the recommendations of the LGA's forthcoming commission on radicalisation and cohesion, by adequately resourcing local authorities' work to address community tensions and counter extremist activity, and give councils the flexibility to respond to local circumstances
- join up programmes across Whitehall departments to prevent people being drawn into terrorism, countering extremism and increasing integration in a way that works better for local authorities.
Government must act now to:
- fully fund the statutory concessionary fares scheme, which councils subsidise by at least £200 million each year and devolve to councils the existing Bus Services Operators' Grant in order to reverse the decline in bus journeys
- reinvest the equivalent of 2p per litre of existing fuel duty paid to the Treasury each year in fuel duty to help councils bring our roads up to scratch
- enable local leaders, working across combined authority and sub-national transport body areas, to save money, exploit innovations and deliver better outcomes by pooling resources and adopting common approaches to road maintenance and streetworks
- provide long term certainty of any national funding for transport, through allocation rather than expensive competitive bidding
- develop a diesel scrappage scheme in order to get more polluting diesel vehicles off the road. This is an immediate intervention that could be made which would accelerate the uptake of lower emission vehicles.
The Government should:
- set out a renewed long term vision for the high-speed digital connectivity of non-metropolitan areas across the United Kingdom
- ensure the broadband universal service obligation guarantees upload as well as download speed, and implements a social tariff for those who would face undue hardship paying for broadband installation or ongoing contractual costs
- build on the success of the superfast broadband programme and taking account of the increased use of mobile telephony, work towards developing universal standards for mobile data to support growth and public service reform
- give local authorities statutory backing to ensure digital infrastructure provision is linked to new housing developments
- prioritise the trial of 5G in rural areas to better evidence its potential to drive growth and transform crucial public services like remote healthcare
- work with Ofcom to ensure mobile coverage data is accurate, up to date and reflects consumer experience so that mobile operators can be held to account on their coverage.
Councils must have:
- the freedom to collect waste in the way that is best suited to the needs of their residents
- a dialogue with the Government on the options for a future framework for the delivery of waste and recycling services following the UK decision to leave the European Union, which should focus on how this can deliver a redistribution of landfill tax to councils, support for councils to collect food waste and find a suitable market for its use
- a renewed national and local focus on ensuring that resources are kept in use for as long as possible and products are recovered and regenerated at the end of their service life
- an increase in the contribution of packaging producers in the UK, who currently pay less, at €20 per tonne of material, than producers in the majority of EU states.
Download the full publication Growing places: building local public services for the future to learn more.