NALC attends Co-operative Party Rural Commission Report launch
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) attended the Co-operative Party Rural Commission Report launch on 17 April 2023, which calls for strengthening local (parish and town) councils to address the challenges rural communities face.
The Commission examined how the co-operative movement can contribute to rural life. The report's recommendations aim to inform and develop policy and influence the Labour Party manifesto.
Proposals and recommendations include:
- The potential of an incoming Labour and Co-operative government to immediately review rural policy.
- Establish a Standing Commission to monitor departments' rural proofing policies cross-government.
- Further devolution should include a Community Power Act, building on the Localism Act and giving more control back to communities.
- More significant investment in the first tier of local government, with local councils given more powers and say over the development and management of local services and facilities.
- Local councils should be able to develop amenities and given capital allocations to enable development where appropriate and a new power to prevent the loss of services and facilities.
- With the development of super unitary authorities at the county level and the emergence of mayoral county councils, local councils are essential to empower people and communities and explore more parishing.
- Investment in training and the development of those wishing to become local councillors.
- Town councils, in particular, should be encouraged to play a role in re-shaping and re-purposing the high street.
- Strengthening the Localism Act to preserve local communal assets and an improved community ownership fund.
The launch, chaired by Lord Bassam of Brighton, featured prominent rural members of the Co-operative Party as well as other stakeholders, such as the Plunkett Foundation and Action with Communities in Rural England.