Today Robert Jenrick MP has been announced as the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government.
Below, the County Councils Network responds to the announcement.
Cllr David Williams, chairman-elect of the County Councils Network and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:
“I would like to congratulate Robert Jenrick on being appointed Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government. The County Councils Network has had a strong relationship with his predecessors and I am sure this will continue with the new Secretary of State and their ministers. As a County MP, he will understand the unique issues facing our member councils.
“He inherits a huge remit with a great deal of uncertainty over many key local government agendas – particularly the Spending and Fair Funding Reviews, business rate retention and social care green paper. We will support the new Secretary of State in aiming to secure clarity from the Treasury on the Spending Review and we will help him champion our cause against a background of unprecedented uncertainty. If the Spending Review is delayed, the sector needs greater clarity on next year’s funding envelope. This includes an emergency injection of significant resource, targeted at the most under-pressure councils, to see us through next year before a comprehensive long-term settlement.
“At the same time, we ask for the Secretary of State to support us in aiming to secure a cast-iron commitment to the Fair Funding Review from no10. Whilst a one-year delay in implementing the review may be inevitable owing to the extenuating national circumstances, there is an imperative to finalise the proposals. It must continue the good work carried out by their predecessors and seek genuinely rebalance the funding inequities between county and urban areas.
“Above all, we want to work with him and put in place the foundations for an ambitious long-term vision for local government. If supported by the right devolved powers and funding, particularly in areas such as strategic planning, infrastructure, and skills, county authorities can deliver the shared objectives it has with the new government: strong economic and employment growth for UKplc, building more homes of a variety of tenures, and improved social mobility for the next generation.”