#CouncilsCan: what is needed in the next Queen's Speech and Spending Review

The Government must deliver a Queen’s Speech, Spending Review and changes to policy that deliver the funding and powers to enable councils to make the changes that will transform our local areas.


 

Queen's Speech

What is needed

What it will deliver

English Devolution Bill

An English devolution settlement enshrined in primary legislation that presents options for devolved powers in England to at least the level of the Scottish Government; that underpins the settlement reached through the devolution deal process and that expands devolution to those areas outside the metropolitan combined authorities. While this paper deals with English policy, we have worked closely with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) LGA, Convention of Scottish Local; Authorities (Cosla) and the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA). Local government across the UK agrees that after the we have left the EU, powers are devolved beyond Whitehall, Cardiff Bay, Stormont and Holyrood and rest with local communities instead.
 

Local Government Finance Bill

Full local control over council tax, including abolition of referendum limits, local powers to set levels of discounts and powers over banding.
100 per cent business rates retention so councils have a stable and predictable financial outlook and are rewarded for a growing local economy.
Greater certainty for councils by making annual, rolling multi-year settlements a legal requirement.
Increased local revenues by tackling business rates avoidance.
 

Education and Skills Bill 

Councils given back the powers to build new schools.
Reverse the legal ban on councils supporting inadequate maintained schools and helping academies which are struggling.
Enable devolution of employment and skills provision through a single set of readiness criteria, which will transfer powers and funding from the Secretary of State to combined authorities and groups of councils.
 

Electoral Bill 

Protection for councillors and candidates from intimidation through a new electoral offence of intimidatory behaviour.
Changes to electoral law on undue influence to include intimidation and the strengthening of existing criminal intimidation legislation to protect those in public office and political candidates, including intimidation that takes place on social media.
Guidance for the general public on what is reasonable protest and comment compared with abuse, intimidation and harassment, and the sanctions for engaging in such behaviour.
Guidance for prosecutors and the police on the seriousness of intimidation crime against public servants and political candidates that takes place as a result of their public role.
A consistent and universal standard of conduct that is applied across all public office.
 

Domestic Abuse Bill 

The Bill will provide a statutory definition of domestic abuse, which will include economic abuse, to help provide consistency across all services and will give councils the powers required to tackle domestic abuse and support victims, in particular through focusing on early intervention and preventative work (including with perpetrators) that stops abuse from occurring in the first place.
 

Building Safety Bill 

This will implement the Hackitt Review recommendations by placing new duties on building owners, new regulatory powers with effective sanctions, a new competence regime for industry and tougher product safety and assurance standards. Enforcement remains with council building control and fire and rescue services and reforms are fully funded.
Spending Review

What is needed

What it will deliver

As an absolute minimum, close the provider market gap and the projected funding gap created by core pressures, totalling £3.6 billion by 2024/25

£1.45 billion would tackle the immediate and annually recurring provider market gap (the difference between the estimated costs of delivering care and what councils pay). This would help reverse the worrying trend of providers handing back council contracts to focus just on the self-funder market or ceasing trading completely.

Closing the remainder of the gap would enable councils to fund future demand for assessments and care packages (but only at current levels of provision) and the future costs of inflation and the National Living wage. It would also go some
way to addressing issues around quality and the workforce, but it would not address them completely, nor wider issues such as unmet and under-met need. The Government should therefore also consult on mechanisms to provide the additional funding.

Provide £3.1 billion of new funding for children’s social care by 2025 and reverse the cuts to the Early Intervention Grant (a minimum of £683 million per year) Allow councils to deliver their statutory duties in the face of increasing demand for children’s services by investing in preventative services to support families before they reach crisis point.
Improve outcomes for children and families by providing appropriate support to meet their needs.
Allow councils to provide more support for vulnerable young people that help to tackle the issue of serious violence, and help avoid them becoming involved in crime.
 
Invest an additional £1.6 billion in High Needs funding by 2021 Councils are able to adequately support the growing number of children and young people with special needs and disabilities, in line with their statutory duties.
 
Increased funding for nurseries to address the shortfall of £2,166 per child Address the shortfall of £2,166 per child a year in private nurseries.
Continue the £59 million per year supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools until a sustainable funding solution for them is found.
 
The Government to agree successor arrangements for EU funding to communities post-Brexit of at least £8.4 billion, equivalent to current funding levels A place-led domestic successor to EU structural funding which is democratically accountable to people and places and focused on delivering locally determined outcomes to increase productivity and tackle inequalities, including in Wales.
A simplified and more proportional approach to financial management, removing the bureaucracy and silos of current EU funding. A new English land management policy to ensure communities have a say on how the replacement of the £1.7 billion Common Agricultural Policy funding for farmers is spent.
 
Additional funding for local roads equivalent to 2p of existing fuel duty, which will raise about £1 billion a year Councils able to tackle the £9.3 billion repairs backlog.
Additional funding of at least £652 million for buses and concessionary fares Councils are fully funded for concessionary fares.
Councils can protect other subsidised bus travel in rural areas and help young people with their travel costs.
 
Reverse the £700 million cuts in public health funding Councils are able to reinvest in public health services to achieve more years of healthy life and keep pressure off the NHS.
Policy changes needed

What is needed 

What it will deliver

Fully fund adult social care and publish a social care green paper which facilitates a national conversation about the value of social care, how it operates and how best to fund it A better understanding amongst the public of adult social care, willingness from our national politicians to put party interests aside in favour of the national interest.
High quality, person-centred care and support for future generations so that people can live the lives they want to lead and contribute to the communities in which they live.
A fully-funded and sustainable adult social care system to relieve pressure on other important council services and help to resolve the future of local government funding overall.
 
Publish a green paper to deliver a step change on prevention Put funding back into preventative services for children and adults.
Secure effective support to give children the best start in life, keep people of all ages well and enable communities and those who live in them to be safe and to thrive can only be delivered through and with local government.
Embed a joined-up prevention approach across government departments.
Place-based approaches to prevention led by local government.
 
A reformed waste strategy  Manufacturers and retailers paying the full cost of recycling and disposing of packaging that they produce.
Councils supported to increase recycling and prevent waste in the first place.
 
Reform housing policy so councils are able to invest in new and existing housing Devolve Right to Buy, allowing councils to set discounts locally and retain 100 per cent of receipts to reinvest in new and existing housing.
Housing Strategy for enabling councils to ensure that 100,000 genuinely affordable homes are created each year.
Ensure high quality development by empowering the local planning system, and allowing councils to set planning fees locally to achieve full cost recovery.
Reduce likelihood of homelessness by lifting the local housing allowance and reconnecting it to rents.
Refocus on homelessness prevention rather than crisis through expanding and combining multiple funding pots into a single grant distributed to councils.
 
Provide resources and powers for councils to deliver environmental improvements locally Council leadership and direction at a local level around how communities bring together the wide range of environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity and green governance.
 
Devolve transport powers and update air quality policy to tackle harmful air pollution and reduce carbon emissions Councils allowed to enforce moving traffic offences through devolving powers in Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, enabling them to reduce congestion and resultant increase in harmful emissions.
Enable all areas to provide a better public transport by automatically giving all councils bus franchising powers if they want it and by properly funding the gap in concessionary fares funding.
Ensure that planned new environmental legislation makes it easier to tackle harmful air pollution from a range of sources.
 
New burden funding for local planning authorities to address the expectations around biodiversity net gain, including addressing the skills/knowledge gap Councils able to carry out the proposed new responsibilities around biodiversity net gain. These will potentially create a lot of additional burden for planning departments.
 
New powers to enable new local funding to be raised to tackle flooding and coastal erosion Greater flexibility for councils on local revenue and capital-raising powers, to support their ability to manage local flood and coastal erosion risk management risks.