NALC meets with local government minister Luke Hall MP
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) chair, Cllr Sue Baxter, met with Luke Hall MP, minister for Regional Growth and Local Government at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on 19 May 2021.
Cllr Baxter spoke on and raised issues on several topics, including:
- She expressed her gratitude for his support in getting the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill over the line. However, she made it clear that local (parish and town) councils receive their backdated business rate as soon as possible. Mr Hall has written to billing authorities and is keen to understand the broader funding issues.
- She spoke on her disappointment with the government's decision on remote meetings, explained the issues councils were facing and urged the government to act now. Mr Hall defended the government's stance however urged councils to respond to the call for evidence.
- She highlighted the importance of having a practical standards regime and the problems with the current system. She pointed out that it's nearly three months since Mr Hall said the government would respond to the Committee on Standards in Public Life report.
- She welcomed the Queen's Speech tone but stressed proposals to create a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous nation must ensure local councils are empowered. Previous commitments to do this and create new councils would form part of the Levelling Up White Paper. Mr Hall said that there was likely to be a section in the paper on devolution that would include local leadership, new councils and other reforms.
- She pressed for the government to invest in building the capacity and capability of local councils, setting out work by NALC and county associations on training and development. Mr Hall was open to this idea and would welcome proposals.