Under pressure following criticism of his approach to testing for Covid-19, at the start of April Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a new target: the government would be carrying out 100,000 tests a day by the end of April....

29th April, 2020


When I popped to my local pub on New Year’s Eve, little did I know I would end up starting 2019 defining and defending local government to a group of fellow mid-twenty-year olds. I did not anticipate that, when...

9th January, 2019


The announcement in the recent budget that the Government will be lifting the borrowing cap on Local Authorities’ Housing Revenue Accounts has been much welcomed and is long overdue. The policy will remove one of the barriers to councils...

26th November, 2018


Imagine that you have witnessed a sharp decline in the up-keep and quality of your community amenities. It may be the local park has become frequented by groups of anti-social youths and drug users, with vandalism having rendered the...

22nd November, 2018


The Chancellor was clearly feeling the hand of history on his shoulder. A new chapter and a turning point were declared as Phillip Hammond informed the House that austerity was now ending just like the PM said it would....

30th October, 2018


In 2008, Alistair Darling’s Autumn Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer contained two bombshells. The first being that he was spending £200bn to keep the economy afloat following the financial crash of a few weeks earlier. The second was...

24th October, 2018


As its annual conference closes, and a flurry of new policy announcements add to last year’s manifesto, Labour’s agenda continues to take shape. While Brexit negotiations still dominate these unpredictable political times, how far is it possible to identify...

26th September, 2018


What would a No Deal Brexit mean for the UK? With only six months remaining until the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, this is the burning question currently preoccupying the UK Government. At the time of...

20th September, 2018


The announcement that made headlines in an otherwise low-key speech from MHCLG Secretary of State James Brokenshire at this year’s LGA Conference concerned the establishment of a board to encourage closer collaboration between national and local governments on Brexit....

5th July, 2018


This article first appeared on The Local Government Chronicle website on 2nd July 2018 Let’s face it, the bar is not exactly high. As long as James Brokenshire manages to get out of the hall at the LGA Conference...

3rd July, 2018


This is a critical year for local government. The Spending Review, the social care green paper and decisions on funding the NHS are all individually important, but collectively they could be game changing. There is an opportunity to set...

1st June, 2018


This article first appeared on the Local Government Chronicle website on 30th May 2018 You don’t need to trawl the archives of The New York Times to know that a 2,500 word special on the Knowsley Council wards of...

30th May, 2018


Whitehall and Local Government often seem fixated on numbers, metrics and targets, as a trigger for focus and action, show to residents, and to satisfy inspectorates as to just exactly what councils have achieved for their residents and areas...

25th May, 2018


This week Seattle’s City Council voted unanimously to levy a new tax on large businesses to help address the city’s homelessness problems. Through negotiation and consensus-building, a democratically-elected local assembly agreed a new financial levy to address a pressing...

18th May, 2018


This article first appeared on the Local Government Chronicle on 11th May 2018 Dear James, welcome to the strangest job in Whitehall. You are now leading a sector that is consumed by four big issues over which your department...

14th May, 2018


The UK Government has consistently maintained that there is ongoing dialogue with local government on Brexit. However, there are growing question marks over the extent to which this ‘dialogue’ is giving local government a platform to inform and assist...

26th April, 2018


Yesterday (28 March), the Government released Council Tax statistics for 2018/19. It won’t surprise you to know that the majority of local authorities have taken advantage of the additional percentage point increase, from 2% to 3%, in the Council...

29th March, 2018


This article was first published in Civil Service World. The Budget was a mixed bag for local government. Councils face financial uncertainty after 2020, with grant funding still reducing, the definition of “fair funding” still pending and the prospect...

22nd November, 2017


In 2013, Eric Pickles accused local government of ‘hypocrisy’ for ‘pleading poverty when they have trebled their cash reserves over the last decade’.1 But last week, DCLG released data on local authority spending and financing in England which reveals...

31st August, 2017


Last night he was shouting obscenities up at the bedroom window. Now, after a cold night on the doorstep, he’s saying he loves us and is begging for forgiveness through the letterbox. Many in local government will be impressed...

14th July, 2017


Many of us knew little about the DUP until Friday morning, but now it looks as if they will be instrumental in forming a functioning government. Now is a timely opportunity to examine what the DUP’s manifesto means for...

13th June, 2017


Whatever their party allegiance, I suspect councillors and officers everywhere will be scratching their heads about what this unexpected outcome means for local government. On one hand, this result spells uncertainty for many issues that councils were hoping might...

9th June, 2017


What do all the party’s election manifestos say for local government? We’ve picked out all the relevant issues in the posts below: what does Labours manifesto mean for local government?what does Liberal Democrat’s manifesto mean for local government?what does...

7th June, 2017


At this General Election, local government is at crossroads, with the two main parties offering very different directions for the future of councils and the communities they serve. The role that councils play in supporting local people means that...

6th June, 2017


UKIP support has grown out of local opposition to the effects of a globalised economy, channelled through its anti-EU stance. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, following the public vote to Brexit last June, the party have struggled to set out a...

30th May, 2017


The likelihood of this manifesto being enacted is probably about the same as aliens invading Britain the same day you’re struck by lightning and win the lottery jackpot. As we’ve seen with intention of the Women’s Equality Party manifesto,...

22nd May, 2017


Manifestos are always launched with a certain amount of excitement, but none more so than the Conservative Manifesto this morning. While the Lib Dem’s manifesto explicitly positioned them as the party of opposition, the Tory manifesto would reveal what...

18th May, 2017


I was planning for this to be a blog about the implications of Labour’s freshly leaked manifesto for local government. As it turns out this is a very difficult thing to do. Labour’s plans – were they enacted –...

17th May, 2017


Reading the Labour manifesto was a bit like watching a magician determined to show you every trick they have ever learned as quickly as possible moving from disappearing an elephant to finding a coin behind your ear and back...

17th May, 2017


We need to talk about fiscal devolution. Fiscal devolution is an issue that national politicians won’t touch even with someone else’s bargepole. So scared are they of the electorate getting a whiff of the prospect of a tax increase,...

28th April, 2017


Since Theresa May took over as Prime Minister, local councils have increasingly understood that their future now resides in their own hands. The devolution agenda, once driven by the former Chancellor, has severely lost energy. Instead, the new Government...

24th April, 2017


Yesterday NLGN hosted a roundtable with senior local government executives and a handful of academics to discuss ‘place based policy’ after Brexit. The starting point of the discussion was work by Will Jennings and Gerry Stoker of the University...

21st April, 2017


The Chancellor’s first Budget, and the first following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, needed to shore up the domestic economy, particularly against structural challenges of weak productivity and our ageing population. So how do the announcements affect...

8th March, 2017


Yesterday’s NLGN Annual Conference came with a painful sting in the tail. The day was dominated by talk of creativity and collaboration – bursting with ideas about how technology, new approaches to the workforce, co-operation between public sector agencies...

22nd February, 2017


In partnership with: “Find a way to keep faith with arts and culture” Arts Council Chair urges local authorities as arts and culture funding falls Sir Peter Bazalgette urged local authorities to work with the Arts Council to back...

13th April, 2016


This final report moves the debate into practical territory by focussing on actions rather than structures, and the wider resources of places rather than the organisational boundaries of institutions.

17th March, 2016


New research from two leading local government think tanks has found that whilst 93% of local councils are reporting cuts to street scene and public realm budgets there is still and urgent need for councils to adopt different approaches...

4th September, 2015


NLGN held a roundtable discussion with contribution from then Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Leslie MP to discuss the implications of the UKMBA and consider the future of financing local government. This paper details the key...

9th June, 2015


This report focuses on what local areas can do themselves to transform, and how central government can support this. What we really need is radical change of relationships at a local level, and to support areas to catalyse this...

6th May, 2014


NLGN posed this question in a recent survey of more than 65 councils from across the country. Depending on how you read the results, the findings are either remarkably optimistic or deeply worrying.

23rd July, 2013