MPs and peers elected to champion local councils in parliament
Cherilyn Mackrory MP and Richard Holden MP have been re-elected as co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on local democracy aimed at championing local (parish and town) councils in parliament.
At the annual meeting on 26 May 2021, both were re-elected as co-chairs of the group having first taken up the roles last year. The Earl of Lytton and Karen Buck MP were also re-elected as other officers of the group while Baroness Scott of Needham Market and Duncan Baker MP were elected as new vice-chairs.
The National Association of Local Councils provides the secretariat to the group and its chair, Cllr Sue Baxter, spoke to share some reflections on the last year including the role of local councils during the pandemic, the toilet tax campaign, remote meetings, civility in public life and building capacity of the sector.
The group also heard from Eddie Hughes MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rough Sleeping and Housing, who said:
- He was pleased to attend on behalf of the minister Luke Hall MP and would relay back to him and other ministers.
- The Group had a great track record of working with successive governments.
- What was very important during the pandemic has been the benefit of place-based leadership, with local councils delivering leadership when we needed it the most.
- The levelling up white paper later in the year will set out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods across the country recovering from the pandemic.
- The government remains committed to devolving power to people in places across the country, plans for the devolution white paper, including strengthening local accountable leadership and further devolution, will now be included in the levelling up the white paper.
- Restructuring of local government will continue to follow a locally-led approach.
- Questions to the minister were on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, housing and neighbourhood planning
The group agreed on its work programme for the year which would include remote meetings, levelling up and promoting the sector in the white paper, the Planning Bill and raising the profile of the sector.