General election result: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2019 | 13 December 2019

The general election has resulted in the Conservative Party winning a clear majority.

Below, the County Councils Network responds to the result, and outlines its immediate priorities for the new government.

Cllr David Williams, chairman of the County Councils Network and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:

“County local authorities stand ready and willing to work with the new government and be a key player in helping to solve some of the biggest domestic issues the country faces, in terms of regional growth, housebuilding, and fixing the social care crisis. 

“Boris Johnson’s majority government has been elected on a domestic pledge to ‘level-up’ the ‘left-behind’ parts of the country. While counties are great places to live and work, we must not forget that many of those areas are located within counties, from deprived rural and coastal communities, to former manufacturing hotbeds, to places where young people leave to go to university and never return. The left-behind nature of many of these places are partly a product of resource and policy being overly London centric and city focused.

“Therefore, to truly unleash the potential of the entire country, government must ensure that counties are fairly funded by ensuring that the Fair Funding Review proceeds and is implemented in 2021, whilst setting out an ambitious devolution offer to the shires so CCN member councils have access to the same powers and levers afforded to urban metro mayors. The promised devolution white paper must set out this level of flexibility, while it must embrace the key role county authorities play in enabling regional growth. 

“In the short term, we welcome the government’s pledge for extra funding for care services and roads, and we urge ministers to publish the Local Government Finance Settlement immediately so councils can crystallise their budgets and plans for the coming financial year. 

“We also expect an early announcement from the new government addressing its ambition to establish a cross-party consensus for social care, which we strongly welcome. The options for reform are well understood and this is too important an issue for our society for it to be continually politicised. 

“Separately, the Spending Review next year should be utilised to give councils a further uplift in funding, particularly to address the growing pressures in protecting vulnerable children and special educational needs support services.

“Our message to the new government is simple: with the right tools, the right powers, and the right funding, we can work with you to unleash the potential of our communities.”