Today Liz Truss has been announced as the winner of the Conservatives’ leadership election, and will become the UK’s new Prime Minister tomorrow.
Below, the County Councils Network responds to the announcement.
Cllr Tim Oliver, Chairman of the County Councils Network, said:
“The County Councils Network would like to welcome the incoming Prime Minister, who will bring much needed stability at a time when the country faces some of its most significant challenges in decades.
“There is no doubt that the most immediate and pressing challenge facing this government is tackling the unprecedented cost-of-living crisis gripping our nation. However, as our new Prime Minister set out during the leadership contest, we must also do all we can to boost our economy, with an unrelenting focus on growth and productivity.
“County local authorities can continue to be a key partner in helping this government solve many of these issues. Their services will help those who are most vulnerable through what are already difficult times and have already begun bespoke support to address the cost-of-living crisis.
‘But, if we are to deliver the economic growth needed to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis and level up our areas then many of the solutions will need to be local and targeted led by councils. County authorities have big ambitions that will be crucial in supporting local business, delivering vital infrastructure to support employment, and in unlocking housing, but are often stymied by a lack of powers and tools to make the biggest difference.
“Over the last twelve months, we have seen significant progress in the levelling-up agenda, with a game-changing new approach to devolving powers and funding to our great counties. It is vital the new government re-affirms its commitment to levelling up white paper and devolution framework to turbocharge devolution; going further and faster than its predecessor to devolve powers and funding to more county areas, giving them the best possible chance to deliver the productivity gains necessary in a period where low growth is forecast.
“But to meet many of the challenges coming down the track head on, county authorities will need support from the government. They are not immune to the inflationary pressures faced by millions of households and businesses, which has added £1.5bn to their costs at least. Councils require extra financial resource from government in the coming months if they are to effectively support their residents and businesses through these difficult months ahead.
“A key element of this increased support will be in adult social care, where services are under significant pressure with people facing long waits for care and delayed discharges from hospitals increasing. The new Prime Minister promised during the hustings debates over the summer to give local authorities more of the £26bn additional funding being provided for health and social care over the next two years. This will be vital in improving the quality and accessibility of care, as well as taking pressure off the NHS and it is imperative she delivers on this pledge and sets out further details in the coming weeks.”