First Magazine - April 2016

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  • x xx xx

    interview:

    No.598 April 2016 www.local.gov.uk

    the magazine for local government

    Its vital we concentrate on the

    quality of education rather than the legal

    status of a school Cllr Roy Perry, Chairman of the

    LGAs Children and Young People Board

    Schools report

    Budget 2016Devo deals and soft drinks

    Child-friendly towns Childrens Commissioner Anne Longfield

    Creative industries Think culture for jobs and growth

    8 18 27

    10

  • www.local.gov.uk/conference to book your place

    The local government event of the year

    @LGAComms #LGAconf16

    Confirmed speakers include

    National Infrastructure Commission Chair The Rt Hon The Lord Adonis

    Environment Agency Chief Executive Sir James Bevan

    Urban Splash Group Chairman Tom Bloxham MBE

    Songwriter and Activist Billy Bragg

    Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

    Shadow Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP

    Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Personnel and Veterans Mark Lancaster TD MP

    Greater Manchester Interim Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd

    Journalist and TV Presenter Cathy Newman

    The Orpheus Centre Trust with Sir Richard Stilgoe

    Falklands Veteran Simon Weston CBE

    Journalist and Broadcaster Toby Young

    L16-78 annual conference ad_full_page_first.indd 1 21/03/2016 11:56

  • April 2016 first contents | 3

    Editor Karen Thornton

    Design & print TU ink www.tuink.co.uk

    Advertising James Pembroke Publishing

    Write to first: Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ

    Email first@local.gov.uk Tel editorial 020 7664 3294 Tel advertising 020 7079 9365

    Photography Photofusion, Dreamstime and Ingimage unless otherwise stated Interview Chris Sharp

    Circulation 18,100 (April 2016) first is published online at www.local.gov.uk/first at least two days before the magazine. To unsubscribe email first@oscar-research.co.uk

    The inclusion of an advert or insert in first does not imply endorsement by the LGA of any product or service. Contributors views are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the LGA.

    contentsCouncils will have breathed a sigh of relief that there were no further in-year funding reductions announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his latest Budget.

    But there were plenty of other announcements of interest to local government from more non-metropolitan devolution deals to plans to make all schools academies. You can catch up on the LGAs Budget responses on p5 and p8-10, and on the political responses from the LGAs political groups on p24-25.

    Elsewhere in the magazine, a cross-party inquiry into devolution in the UK has reported, and made a series of recommendations aimed at creating a more coherent and ambitious approach to devolving more powers to the UKs nations and regions.

    Our interview this month is with Anne Longfield, Childrens Commissioner for England, who wants to work with councils to develop child-friendly towns and cities.

    Betsy Dilner of Generation Rent challenges us to think about and do more for our residents in the private rented sector, while John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, argues the arts are not nice to have but crucial to local jobs and growth.

    Let us know what you think by emailing first@local.gov.ukLord Porter is Chairman of the LGA

    The red box

    features8 Budget analysis10 Schools white paper11 Member perceptions12 Devolution14 Teenage pregnancies15 Loneliness16 LG Challenge

    news4 Apprenticeships Junk food ads

    Coastal path

    comment23 Generation rent24 LGA chairman and

    group leaders

    26 Donor town and winter shelter

    27 Creative industries28 BIMBYs and adult

    learning

    5 Budget warnings Delayed discharges

    Bug hotel

    regulars6 Letters and

    sound bites

    29 Councillor engaging young people

    30 Parliament business rates

    31 Local by-elections

    interview18 Anne Longfield

    OBE, Childrens Commissioner for England

    It is down to me to make sure the people who are making decisions about children understand the impact of those decisions

    4

    626

    18

    5

    www.local.gov.uk/conference to book your place

    The local government event of the year

    @LGAComms #LGAconf16

    Confirmed speakers include

    National Infrastructure Commission Chair The Rt Hon The Lord Adonis

    Environment Agency Chief Executive Sir James Bevan

    Urban Splash Group Chairman Tom Bloxham MBE

    Songwriter and Activist Billy Bragg

    Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

    Shadow Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP

    Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Personnel and Veterans Mark Lancaster TD MP

    Greater Manchester Interim Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd

    Journalist and TV Presenter Cathy Newman

    The Orpheus Centre Trust with Sir Richard Stilgoe

    Falklands Veteran Simon Weston CBE

    Journalist and Broadcaster Toby Young

    L16-78 annual conference ad_full_page_first.indd 1 21/03/2016 11:56

    14

    5

  • news

    4 | first news www.local.gov.uk

    New coast path for Somerset

    A new 90km section of the England Coast Path has opened in Somerset, in time for the Easter holidays. The county council has worked with Natural England over the last seven years to establish the new path, following agreements with all the affected landowners. It is expected to boost the regions economy and tourism businesses. Cllr David Fothergill (Con), Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: Supporting the path brings great economic benefits to Somerset and we look forward to further additions being planned for the future. We know how popular the England Coast Path is with both locals and those new or visiting the region, and hope this will prove to be a draw for tourists.

    Let councils ban junk food ads

    Powers to ban junk food advertising near schools, nurseries and childrens centres should be given to councils in a bid to beat the child obesity crisis. The LGA says the move would reduce childrens exposure to unhealthy food and drinks high in salt, fat and sugar, said to be a key driver behind child obesity.

    The call came as Chancellor George Osborne announced soft drinks companies will pay a levy on sugary drinks from 2018. The sugar tax is expected to raise 530 million, which would be spent on boosting school sports. In its First 100 days manifesto for the new government, the LGA called for a fifth of VAT on sweets, soft drinks and fast food to be reinvested in activity programmes to help tackle childhood obesity. Around 3.5 million children are considered obese.

    Cllr Richard Kemp, Deputy Chair of the LGAs Community Wellbeing Board, said: We urgently need to take action to tackle child obesity, and giving councils powers to control marketing of junk food, which is one of the major causes of this epidemic, will help us to tackle the issue. We are not saying every council should be using these powers, but it gives local authorities the option of working with parents and schools to ban junk food advertising near schools, nurseries and children centres, if they feel it can make a difference and improve childrens health in their town or city. We need to make changes to our environment if we are to fight obesity, and although this wont solve the obesity crisis by itself, being able to limit childrens exposure to unhealthy food products would be an important step forward.

    Apprenticeship targets dont add up

    staff numbers by 40 per cent since 2010. This would ensure 400 million of vital funding could be spent by councils on protecting local services instead.

    Money raised from the Apprenticeship Levy should also be pooled locally to allow areas to spend the money on creating apprenticeships that fill local skills gaps and meet employers needs.

    Cllr Nick Forbes, LGA Vice-Chair, said: Councils support the Governments ambition to create three million apprenticeships. Good apprenticeships can give people the experience, skills and understanding that can often lead straight into a full-time job. Yet too many new apprenticeships are low-skilled and too few are school leavers trying to get their first job.

    It is clear that our centralised employment and skills system is struggling to create the right apprenticeships that local residents and business need.

    These national reforms need to recognise the strong track record of councils in supporting local employment, including apprenticeships. Councils could better help increase apprenticeship numbers and quality by being freed from the burden of national targets.

    Paying the Governments new Apprenticeship Levy and meeting national apprenticeship targets will cost councils at least 600 million a year, according to LGA analysis.

    All public and private employers with a wage bill of more than 3 million will have to contribute 0.5 per cent in a new Apprenticeship Levy from April 2017 to fund the creation of three million new apprenticeships by the end of the decade. The LGA calculates that paying this levy will cost local authorities 207 million a year.

    The Government has also set all public sector employers an annual target of apprentices making up 2.3 per cent of the workforce. Under this policy, councils will have to make the biggest contribution of any part of the public sector, by creating 33,000 new apprenticeships each year. This represents an eight-fold increase and would force councils affected to find an extra 400 million in wages.

    The LGA is calling for councils to be exempt from the 2.3 per cent national apprenticeship target since it would force councils to create positions when they have already reduced

    Tipping the scales: case studies on the use of planning powers to limit hot food takeaways, see www.local.gov.uk/publications

  • April 2016 first news | 5

    B-line for the North East

    Pupils at George Washington Primary in Sunderland (pictured) have been creating a bug hotel in the schools grounds, as part of a city council project with wildlife charity Buglife aimed at helping stop the decline in bees and other insect pollinators across the country. Cllr Michael Mordey (Lab), Portfolio Holder for City Services, said: Some of the land the council owns is incredibly important for wildlife. These sites in urban areas, along with sensitively managed parks and road verges, can all support a wide range of flowers on which insect pollinators feed. I encourage everyone who has a garden, allotment or even window boxes to do their bit to reduce their use of insecticides and help provide a little extra natural cover for our wildlife.

    news in brief

    Public finance trailblazers

    Cuts could close local pharmacies

    Costs of delayed discharges revealed

    A 170 million funding cut could force hundreds of local pharmacies to close, cutting off a vital lifeline for elderly and vulnerable people and leaving some facing long journeys to collect essential medicines, the LGA has warned. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGAs Community Wellbeing Spokeswoman, said: Community pharmacies do need to change but the cuts in funding could lead to many being forced to close. They should actually play a bigger role in providing public health services, alongside their existing roles. Additional investment in community pharmacies could improve the prevention of disease and access to health services. They can also help contribute to thriving high streets.

    Age UK is warning that urgent action is needed to address the underfunding of social care services, which allow older people to be safely discharged from hospital. Its report, Behind the headlines, reveals that nearly three million hospital bed days have been lost in the last six years, costing 910 million. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGAs Community Wellbeing Spokeswoman, said: This is why the LGA continues to call for 700 million of the funding earmarked for social care through the Better Care Fund by the end of the decade to be brought forward now, to ease the severe strain on services supporting the elderly and vulnerable.

    Budget warning over further funding cuts

    City Region and in London. Lord Porter said this was an important step towards local government keeping all of their business rates income but warned against any knock-on financial impact on other councils.

    He added: Local government will rightly need to play a lead role in making sure any new national system works effectively and fairly.

    Failure to bring forward the 700 million of new money in the Better Care Fund to 2016/17, despite calls from councils, the NHS and care providers, was disappointing and meant under-pressure social care services would remain at breaking point, the LGA said.

    Vulnerable members of the community still face an uncertain future where the dignified care and support they deserve, such as help getting dressed, fed or getting out and about, remains at risk, said Lord Porter.

    The LGA also set out its opposition to plans announced by the Chancellor to force every school to become an academy by the end of the decade. It defies reason to portray councils as barriers to school improvement with 82 per cent of council maintained schools rated as good or outstanding, it said.

    The Government must not make any further funding cuts to local government over the next four years, the LGA has warned in response to the Budget.

    George Osborne delivered his eighth Budget as Chancellor last week amid a worsening economic outlook. As a result, he announced he would need to use a public sector efficiency review to identify 3.5 billion in further public service spending reductions in 2019/20.

    Some departments, such as health and education, will remain protected and will not be included in the review.

    The LGA said councils already face significant funding pressures over the next few years and are having to make huge savings to plug funding gaps.

    LGA Chairman Lord Porter said: Councils now need a period of financial stability and consistency so they can plan for the pressures facing local services which lie ahead over the next few years, and need to be protected from any more funding cuts during this Parliament. This, alongside greater power to run local services, is essential.

    The Government also announced a new sugar levy, further devolution deals in Greater Lincolnshire, East Anglia, the West Midlands and the west of England, and extra funding to tackle homelessness and improve flood defences.

    As part of the move towards 100 per cent business rates retention, the system will be piloted in Greater Manchester, the Liverpool

    L GA Chairman Lord Porter has been named one of the countrys top 50 trailblazers when it comes to public finance. The list is produced by Public Finance magazine and profiles outstanding individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the effective use and management of public money. Other local government luminaries featured include LGA President Lord Kerslake; Cllr Philippa Roe (Con), Leader, Westminster City Council; Ray Morgan, Chief Executive, Woking Borough Council; and Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Execut...