Resetting the relationship between local and national government. Read our Local Government White Paper

LGA Chair writes to the new Prime Minister

The newly appointed Chair of the Local Government Association, Cllr Louise Gittins, writes to the new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, to congratulate him on his appointment and offers to work with him and his Cabinet to deliver our shared ambitions.

Sir Keir Starmer MP
Prime Minister  

5 July 2024

Dear Prime Minister, 

As the newly appointed Chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), I congratulate you on your appointment as Prime Minister. On behalf of the LGA and local government, I look forward to working with you and your Cabinet to deliver our shared ambitions and your five missions to rebuild Britain.  

A new parliament presents a great opportunity for national and local government to work in partnership and reset the relationship between central and local government to deliver transformative change. Local government as innovators, as providers, and conveners of services and place leaders, holds the keys to solving some of our biggest national challenges – from ending the housing crisis, to achieving net zero, improving the nation’s health and wellbeing, driving inclusive economic growth and prosperity, and supporting children and young people to have the best start in life.  With the right support and reforms, local government’s offer is huge: we will unlock prosperity, breathe life back into struggling communities, and rebuild vital services that improve people’s lives and break down barriers to opportunity.  

In the run-up to the general election, the LGA published our Local Government White Paper which sets out councils' urgent priorities for a new Government. It makes the case that a fundamental reset of the relationship between local and national government, including the establishment of a central-local partnership. 

We welcome your government’s commitment to deliver a radical transfer of power from Westminster to communities, giving local leaders the tools they need to be true place leaders. We want to work in partnership with you to co-design a new, enhanced framework for devolution that moves away from the centralised model that is holding places back. With more power local government can help kickstart economic growth and break down barriers to opportunity.  

We also need a new approach to delivering and reforming public services, that builds on existing good practice and rolls out evidence-based interventions at pace. Providing people with the right support at the right time has the potential to deliver significantly better outcomes and socio-economic benefits. As a priority, we want to work with you to deliver a fundamental shift towards prevention.  

There has never been a more difficult time for local government. Councils find themselves in an increasingly precarious position, facing the toughest of decisions. Our new analysis reveals that councils in England now face a funding gap of £6.2 billion over the next two years. Councils’ finances are on a knife edge. Local government has faced a 22.2 per cent cut in core spending power since 2010/11. Combined with rising costs and growing demands, financial resilience is at an all-time low, despite the sector continuing to innovate and make efficiencies. The current system of funding local government is out of date, opaque, overly complex and limits councils’ ability to be more self-sufficient by raising income from other sources. Your commitments to re-introduce multi-year funding settlements and end competitive bidding are a vital step forward, however if we are going to jointly solve issues such as the broken children’s social care market, SEND, homelessness and temporary accommodation, then the forthcoming spending review must prioritise these areas. 

Local government stands ready with our experience and expertise to work with you on finding innovative and reforming solutions to the issues facing the country and to deliver a better future for our communities. I would be delighted to meet with you to discuss how we can work together; my office ([email protected]) would be delighted to work with your officials to find a suitable date for a meeting. I look forward to working with you. 

Yours sincerely, 

Cllr Louise Gittins

Chair, Local Government Association