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Local Authorities: Essential Services - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:55 pm on 24th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat 2:55 pm, 24th January 2019

I thank noble Lords who took part in this thoughtful, powerful and useful debate today. It showed the impact that local government has on people’s lives. Whether it be loos, transport, libraries, social care, housing or in some cases even Shakespeare’s memory, all are important.

I hope that the Government and all noble Lords will take away from the debate four issues, and I shall make one personal reflection. The first is that the situation cannot go on like this: it is critical. But despite that, some amazing staff and councillors are doing great things to improve people’s lives and their local areas.

Secondly, the council tax system has run its course. I totally agree with the noble Lord, Lord Liddle. There is now a need for a cross-party and independent review of how we fund not just local government but local areas.

Thirdly, local authorities must stop being seen as just a provider of critical services and must be funded and empowered to be able to facilitate vibrant and sustainable communities.

Fourthly, if we are going to be a country where no one gets left behind, a fair funding system needs be just that. It needs to be fair and have deprivation and need at its heart.

Lastly, I now agree far more with the noble Lord, Lord Kerslake, than when I was leader of the opposition in Sheffield and he was chief executive, and that would be a good point at which to sit down.

Motion agreed.