Counties collectively represent some 26 million people and cover 86% of the country’s landmass: they are England’s largest grouping of local authorities and contain just under half of the country’s population. This is why CCN has consistently campaigned for counties to be put on a level playing field with urban authorities, with government funding channelled more towards city regions and urban areas at the expense of rural authorities.
Counties play a pivotal role in their residents’ everyday lives and the environment they live in; providing services from ranging from libraries, to public health, to waste disposal, to road maintenance. However government funding is increasingly failing to match county leaders’ ambitions though; affecting frontline services, and impacting on local growth and business start-ups, whilst Brexit has created uncertainty on whether any replacement for EU Structural Funds – which counties have benefitted from – will contain the same level of funding available to local authorities once England has left the EU.
CCN has highlighted the gulf between rural broadband speeds and urban speeds; advocating for better connectivity with higher speeds in county areas, and has consistently campaigned for a fair-share of national resources for counties for growth functions, road maintenance, and public health.
The recent Social Mobility Commission report highlights areas where social mobility is low. Importantly, the vast majority of social mobility ‘cold spots’, as identified by the commission, are located within counties. CCN will advocate the need for this to be addressed, with adequate resource and powers for county authorities to engineer positive changes.