Agenda and draft minutes

Executive Advisory Board
Thursday, 12th September, 2019 2.15 pm

Venue: Westminster Room, 8th Floor, 18 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ. View directions

Contact: Alexander Saul  Email: Alexander.Saul@local.gov.uk / 020 7664 3232

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed new members of the LGA Executive for their appointment for the 2019/20 meeting year. The Chairman also expressed his congratulations on behalf of the LGA to Cllr Debbie Wilcox on having received a peerage as a part of Theresa May’s Resignation Honours.

 

The Chairman noted apologies from the following;

·         Cllr Clive Woodbridge (Ind)

·         Cllr Anne Western CBE (Lab)

·         Cllr Annoinette Bramble (Lab)

·         Cllr David Finch (Con)

·         Cllr Peter John OBE (Lab)

·         Cllr Debbie Wilcox (Lab)

·         Cllr Stephen Houghton CBE (Lab)

·         Cllr Simon Henig CBE (Lab)

·         Cllr Nicholas Rushton (Con)

·         Cllr Peter Box CBE (Lab)

·         Cllr Nick Forbes CBE (Lab)

 

The Chairman also noted the following substitutes;

·         Cllr Georgia Gould (Lab) as a substitute for Cllr Peter John OBE representing London Councils

·         Cllr Ian Stephens (Ind) as a substitute for Cllr Clive Woodbridge

·         Cllr Linda Haysey (Con) as a substitute for Cllr David Finch representing East of England LGA

·         Cllr Mohammed Butt (Lab) as a subtitute for Cllr Nick Forbes CBE

 

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

Membership, Terms of Reference and Appointments to the LGA's Governance Structures for 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The  LGA Executive noted:

 

1. the Executive’s membership for 2019/20;

2. the Executive’s Terms of Reference; and

3. appointments to the LGA’s governance structures for 2019/20.

3.

Local Government preparedness for Brexit pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA Brexit Taskforce, who updated the Executive on the LGA’s work in preparing for Brexit.

 

In the discussion that followed, the following points were raised;

 

·         Cllr Bentley confirmed he had met the new Secretary of State twice to discuss this since the changes in the new government.

·         Concerns were still being emphasised to the Government around secondary ports and Cllr Bentley clarified that a great deal of work had been done on this issue.

·         It was also emphasised that the Brexit Task Force continued to push for assurance from central government to be ready to fund required improvements in local infrastructure.

·         Cllr Bentley informed Members that over a million had applied for settled status in the UK so far. He indicated that the Government had informed him no one had yet had their settled status rejected.

·         It was also emphasised that the Brexit Task Force were pushing for clarity regarding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.  He was pressing for councils to have a central role.

·         The Task Force would be seeking clarity on entitlement of non-UK EU citizens to vote in future UK elections.

·         Concerns were raised regarding settled status and the claim from Government that no one had yet had their settled status rejected. Members raised examples where acquiring settled status was proving challenging for residents.

·         A concern was raised regarding whether students, who were being offered to stay an extra two years after studying, would have the opportunity to apply for settled status if this allowed them to reach five years of residency. Cllr Bentley confirmed he would look into this.

 

Decision

 

The LGA Executive considered the report and raised issues to be captured in the LGA’s ongoing Brexit work.

 

4.

Business Rates Retention and Fair Funding Review Update pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Resources Board said that this report provides a summary of progress on the Fair Funding Review and Business Rates Retention work programmes since the last meetings of Leadership Board and Executive.

 

He pointed members to the recent government announcement that 75 per cent business rates retention and the Fair Funding Review will be delayed by a year to implementation in April 2021. He noted that, as planned, the 2019/20 75 per cent business rates retention pilots would not continue in 2020/21 as they were a one-year exercise. He also informed members that the 100 per cent business rates retention pilots, with a ratified devolution deal, will continue in 2020/21.

 

The additional funding for Special Education needs and Disabilities (SEND), announced in advance of the 2019 Spending Round, was welcomed. A concern was raised that the additional funding may go into Dedicated Schools Grant and local authorities are financing SEND from resources outside the DSG. Cllr Watts agreed that the extra money should be used to provide additional resources to councils for SEND and not to put money into the mainstream Schools Budget. He said that we were seeking clarification from the DfE that the money would be baselined.

 

The Chairman emphasised that it was his understanding that the intent of the extra resources was that they would be incremental.

 

Decision

 

The LGA Executive noted the progress update, including the announcement by the Secretary of State that implementation of further business rates retention and the Fair Funding review will be delayed until 2021/22.

 

5.

2019 Spending Round and 2020 Spending Review pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Minutes:

Cllr Watts introduced the report providing a summary of the key announcements in the 2019 Spending Round relevant to local government and gave an update on LGA activity carried out before the announcement. He expressed his thanks to Members and Officers for all of their hard work in lobbying for this. He explained this included more than £3.5 billion for council services including a referendum limit of 2 per cent and the opportunity for local authorities to levy a 2 per cent adult social care precept. Cllr Watts emphasised that how the additional £1 billion for social care is distributed between local authorities will be discussed with Government. He also emphasised the need to focus on the longer-term view with a multi-year Spending Review in 2020 and pointed members to LGA planned activity ahead of the announcement next year.

 

The Chairman emphasised that the LGA would push for the additional resources and future settlements to be more long term.

 

In response to a query as to how quickly the date for receiving the Local Government Settlement would be established Sarah Pickup, Deputy Chief Executive, explained that the Government were aiming for early December. She raised that an autumn budget was still anticipated. Sarah also explained that Councils could now plan their budgets for 2020/21 with reasonable confidence.

 

In response to a query raised as to whether the LGA should have a more joined up lobbying campaign on lobbying the Welsh Government to give more resources to Welsh local authorities, that the Welsh LGA takes the lead on this work. The Chairman tasked Resources Board with considering how to join up with Welsh LGA in advance of the 2020 Spending Review.

 

Decision

 

The LGA Executive noted the report.

 

Action

 

The Resources Board to consider potential joint work with  the Welsh LGA.

 

6.

Note of the last Leadership Board meeting - Tabled

Minutes:

The LGA Executive noted the minutes of the LGA Leadership Board meeting held on 11 September 2019.

7.

Note of last LGA Executive meeting pdf icon PDF 163 KB

Minutes:

The LGA Executive noted the minutes of the previous meeting of the LGA Executive held on 18 July 2019.

8.

Confidential note of last LGA Executive

Minutes:

The LGA Executive noted the confidential minutes of the previous meeting of the LGA Executive held on 18 July 2019.