LGA chair expresses high hopes for Johnson’s cabinet

29 Jul 19

The new Local Government Association leader has told PF he is “optimistic” about the new cabinet’s understanding of local government.

A number of Boris Johnson’s cabinet have roots in local government, which LGA leader James Jamieson feels will benefit the sector going forward.

Jamieson told PF: “There are a number of people in that cabinet who have been close to local government or who have been councillors in the past.

“Chancellor Sajid Javid – one of the most influential people in government – was the former local government secretary and Rishi Sunak was a minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

“So I would say that we are optimistic that the new cabinet will be more understanding of the potential of local government.”

Former communities secretary Javid was moved from his subsequent post as home secretary to become chancellor. And Sunak was promoted to chief secretary of the Treasury, leaving his role as local government minister, in Johnson’s cabinet overhaul last week, which also saw communities secretary James Brokenshire sacked.

Jamieson, who was introduced as LGA chair at the group’s annual conference earlier this month, told PF that local government is one of the most “efficient” parts of government and said the sector must be empowered by the new government.

“The more they empower us and the more responsibilities we get – we will need funding for those. And when this happens we will end up with better, cheaper solutions,” he added.

Jamieson praised the enthusiasm of the new communities secretary Robert Jenrick, who immediately met with the LGA after his first cabinet meeting on Thursday.

“His first official engagement after attending cabinet was to come along to the LGA, which I think is a good sign for how seriously he takes the sector,” he said.

Jamieson said he highlighted to the secretary of state current pressure points for local authorities, including adult social care, children’s SEND funding and housing.

On social care Jamieson, told PF there needs to be “more cross-party support” to fix the crisis.  “At the LGA we would be willing to work with all parties to try and come up with a solution that can create consensus,” said Jamieson.

Boris Johnson vowed, in his inaugural speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street last week, to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”. Although, he has still not revealed any details on how this will be done. 

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