Cllr David Williams, addressing the County Councils Network’s annual conference this morning for the first time as chairman of the organisation said that whoever enters Downing Street next month must ‘engage with county authorities’ on the big domestic issues, such as housing, care, and economic growth.
He said that councils will need to hit the ground running in influencing a new government.
Cllr Williams, who is leader of Hertfordshire County Council and was elected chairman of the CCN in September, will tell delegates:
“Whoever enters Downing Street must engage county authorities on legislative reform and take steps to utilise the strategic role of county authorities across economic growth, housing, public sector reform and environmental protection.
“Crucially, this must be underpinned by genuine devolution. A devolution settlement for all, with a practical framework for devolved powers, institutional and structural reform to genuinely drive powers down to local communities; from Whitehall to county hall.
“….Whatever the election may bring, I am confident that we will go from strength to strength, standing together on the issues that matter to our councils and our communities, and making a compelling case to the new administration.
“With the right tools, the right powers, and the right powers and the right funding, we can do much, much more; unleashing the potential of counties, both economically and socially for the benefit of the people we serve.”
During his speech, Cllr Williams cited CCN’s cross-party statement which was signed by the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat vice-chairmen last month.
He said: “As we head into this campaign, it is essential that all political parties engage in the issues facing county authorities and the communities we represent.”