Communities and Environment

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.

Counties face a 3.9% year-on-year real-terms cut in public health budgets
Over two-thirds , 72% of counties have download speeds lower than the national average
Counties maintain 70% of local roads
In total, 52 out of  65 social mobility ‘cold spots’ in England are located in within county areas

CCN advocacy

  • Highlight social mobility issues within specific county areas, and advocate for fresh resource and powers for councils to enable counties to propose local solutions
  • Continue to showcase rural broadband connectivity issues; making the case for high-speed broadband covering the length and breadth of rural England
  • Highlight the importance of preventative public health to the wider local health jigsaw and the NHS, and showcase the impact of dwindling public health budgets has on the health service.
  • Advocating adequately funded road maintenance budgets for county authorities

CCN Communities and Wellbeing Spokesman

Cllr Ian Stewart, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party on Cumbria County Council