Responding to the publication of the Government’s Integration Strategy, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“Councils recognise that we have a leading role in shaping our communities and helping to create the environments in which communities can live cohesively. The publication of this strategy is a positive step, and we look forward to contributing to the forthcoming consultation.
“Work to support the development of cohesion sits at the heart of what councils do every day and councils, who are closest to the residents they serve, are best placed to develop approaches for their local area. The area-based programme announced alongside the strategy, which recognises that challenges vary from area to area, supports this approach.
“However, if we are to truly help create cohesive communities, local government needs to have the powers and resources to be able to do so. The supply of good quality housing, vibrant local economies and excellent local education are all vital ingredients of cohesion, but are areas in which councils’ powers have been reduced over the years. Devolving more powers to councils in these key areas is critical to supporting local areas, alongside measures that help specific parts of our communities or bring communities together.
“It’s essential that the new integration strategy helps and funds councils to respond to local needs and councils will be advocating for this in the consultation period.”