On behalf of its membership, the cross-party LGA regularly submits to Government
consultations, briefs parliamentarians and responds to a wide range of parliamentary inquiries. Our recent
responses to government consultations and parliamentary briefings can be found here.
Councils are best placed to safeguard the future of high streets. As leaders of place, councils have shown innovation in repurposing their town centres and responding to longer-term trends in how our high streets are used.
Digital access and skills are essential to enabling people to fully participate in an increasingly digital society. Tackling the digital divide will be crucial to addressing social and economic inequalities and levelling up every community.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted that broadband is essential infrastructure. Access to fast and reliable broadband connectivity is vital to help communities stay connected, drive inclusive recovery and create quality jobs.
Local leaders have shown throughout the pandemic that they are well placed to deliver the best outcomes for local communities. They are also best placed to align the work of government departments and agencies with the assets and opportunities of different places.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an acceleration of changes to the reasons people visit and use high streets. Data for November 2020 shows that footfall is at 45 percent compared to the same period last year. Before the pandemic, footfall had dropped over 10 per cent in the last 7 years. Internet sales had risen to 21 per cent of all retail sales at the end of 2019 compared to 7 per cent a decade earlier, and during the height of the national lockdown period in May this had jumped to nearly 33 per cent of all retail sales.
By devolving the skills and employment system we could better match supply with employer demand. The LGA’s Work Local proposals sets out a vision for a localised service, which would enable communities to design an offer customised to the individual need of their area.
Local government continues to lead the way in the public sector to improve outcomes for people while making savings for the public purse. The LGA’s Productivity Experts Programme forms part of our sector-led improvement (SLI) offer. Since 2012, we have worked with over 174 councils contributing to £194 million worth of savings and income generation.
The UK’s exit from the EU represents an opportunity to provide local areas with new ways to manage their economies. We have made the case for reforming the funding landscape to secure better outcomes and a key chance to deliver this priority is the design of the UKSPF.
As we leave the European Union, the Government’s industrial strategy provides an opportunity to drive the creation of a successful, world-leading economy. We welcome the strong focus on place as one of the five foundations of productivity and the building block of local industrial strategies.