On behalf of its members, the cross-party LGA regularly briefs parliamentarians of all political affiliations on issues of concern and relevance to local government ahead of debates in Parliament. The most recent of these can be found here, as can the LGA's written responses to parliamentary inquiries, such as those held by Select Committees.
While these powers are a welcome addition to the tools that councils have to tackle local outbreaks, and some councils have issued directions, there are also some challenges in using the directions. The regulations include the threshold of a serious and imminent threat to public health before a direction can be issued, and there is a need to consult with both the local Director of Public Health and to inform the Secretary of State for Health. This threshold has had the effect of deterring councils in areas where there has not to date been a significant rise in infections from issuing directions, in the belief that they do not meet the test of a serious and imminent threat to public health.
Business rates account for around a quarter of all council spending power. Money raised is used to pay for vital local services, such as caring for older and disabled people, protecting children, fixing potholes and collecting bins.
The visitor economy sector has taken one of the biggest financial hits due to COVID-19. Gaps in support packages alongside the absence of the seasonal boost the industry usually sees over the summer means the impact of the pandemic will be felt in the weeks and months to come, with many at risk of closure.
The Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill seeks to provide 100 per cent business rates relief for standalone public lavatories in England and Wales. This includes publicly and privately owned, free to use and charging for entry lavatories.
Councils want to work with the Government to develop post COVID-19 recovery options. The economic, social and environmental recovery our communities need will look different in different areas of the country and only a locally coordinated response will be effective.
The LGA has responded to the Government’s regulatory review on the future of transport technology. We have responded to the questions that cover the overall policy and regulatory framework for councils.