I launched our Local Growth report at the LGA conference as the conclusion of our town hall debates.
But the campaign continues. We are now turning these ideas into a delivery programme. We will be looking at a new series of town hall summits to see how we could deliver skills differently and how we can make a stronger offer to support UK trade and export strategy.
The Local Growth campaign made clear demands for change on skills. Cllr Shona Johnstone, Vice-Chair of the LGA Economy and Transport Board, made these points when she gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on the Youth Contract on 27 June. The committee focused its discussion on the fragmentation of services around young people and the difficulties this creates for local partners and employers, as well as the need to connect support with local labour markets. These are both central points in the LGA's Hidden Talents analysis which you can find out more about on the LGA website.
Councillor Peter Box CBE
Chairman, LGA Economy and Transport Board
On Wednesday 27 June, Cllr Shona Johnstone (Vice-Chair, LGA Economy and Transport Board) gave evidence on behalf of the LGA to the Work and Pension Select Committee inquiry into youth unemployment and the youth contract. Cllr Johnstone emphasised the complexity of the current system where young people can receive support from at least eight national organisations, funding 33 schemes and said that local authorities should be the glue that links the providers of training and education with young people themselves.
Cllr Shona Johnstone (Vice-Chair, LGA Economy and Transport Board) gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee as part of its inquiry into rail decentralisation on 11 July. Cllr Johnstone called for greater local flexibility and for rail devolution to be seen in the wider context of economic growth. She went on to argue that councillors are best equipped to make transport decisions given their intimate knowledge of the local challenges, agendas, and potential benefits that could be achieved.
Cllr Shona Johnstone (Vice-Chair, LGA Economy and Transport Board) gave oral evidence on 16 July to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Local Growth. Cllr Johnstone took attendees through the findings of the LGA's 'Local leadership, local growth' report, highlighting examples from around the country of where local authorities are getting on with supporting growth in their area. She also discussed the barriers to such efforts, such as the skills mismatch between the training colleges are providing and what employers need from new recruits, the impact of street works on economic growth, and the role local enterprise partnerships can play in terms of bringing local partners together.
On Tuesday 10 July, Cllr David Simmonds chaired a cross-party Parliamentary roundtable – held jointly with the Prince's Trust – on youth unemployment. We used the roundtable to explore the activity local authorities are leading to support the most disengaged young people into work and learning, and to discuss how these approaches might be better enabled by the national system. The Prince's Trust spoke about their activity and two councils spoke about their work to support young people and the different challenges in their area. Two young people also spoke about their experiences and Parliamentarians discussed what was happening in their constituencies and the challenges they faced. One of the key themes to emerge from the discussions was how different areas have different needs and therefore require different responses. This roundtable was part of the LGA's Hidden Talents campaign.
Lord Heseltine has been asked by Government to undertake an independent review of how Government departments and other relevant public sector bodies interact with the private sector, and to assess their capacity to deliver policies that support growth. This review contributes to the Government's priority of achieving sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries. The review will focus on:
assessing Government capacity to deliver pro-growth policies
assessing capacity of the UK business community, including its representative bodies, to deliver growth
assessing local capacity, with ‘place' as a driver of economic growth
The LGA has presented their recent work to the review team and engaged with the team about the role of local government in driving growth.
The review is due to report in October 2012.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Greg Clark Minister for Cities announced in July that eight City Deals had been signed by each of the core cities (Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Leeds City Region, Newcastle, Bristol and the South West, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Sheffield City Region, and Nottingham). These deals with Government give the cities access to powers and levers (previously held nationally) to help them drive extra growth locally.
Whilst the content of each of the deals is bespoke to the specific area, there are some key issues which underpin each deal:
LGA officials have been involved in discussions with Cities Unit to support extending the City Deal offer to non-city areas and to explore how the LGA can support the development of more bids.
LGA annual rural conference
Windermere | 12 September 2012
The LGA's annual rural conference is the key event for rural policy and decision makers in local government. This well-established event provides a unique opportunity for elected members, officers and others involved in rural affairs to network and discuss how rural issues can be addressed by local authorities.
Managing the night-time economy
London | 26 September 2012
A vibrant, safe, clean and well-managed night-time economy can go a long way to boosting the local economy through attracting visitors and stimulating a hive of cultural and creative activity in the local community.
The Office of Rail Regulation has published its consultation 'Approach to Transparency'. This document sets out areas where progress has been made by the rail industry but also seeks views on where greater transparency would be of benefit.
The Office of Rail Regulation would welcome your views on the consultation. These should be sent to Philip Willcox: email@example.com by 19 October. A seminar on these issues will also be held in the autumn. Please let Philip know if you would like to attend the seminar.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), local authorities and a range of charities have offered their support to the LGA's Procurement Pledge. The pledge is intended to ensure that the £62 billion that councils spend each year on buying goods and services provides value for money and supports local economies.
30 January 2013