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.
We are deeply concerned that the proposed risk-mitigation measures in clause 71 of the Bill potentially give the Secretary of State significant powers to intervene in a local authority. There is a danger that the formula-based approach outlined in the Bill could impact more widely than intended. It is vital that the Government undertakes full engagement with the sector, including full consultation before enacting the regulations arising from the Bill.
This briefing summarises the Government's UKSPF guidance and some of the key issues councils and combined authorities will need to consider while developing their investment plans, and an LGA view on some key issues.
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.