Our Letter to the Times


From the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in

Local Government

6th Floor, Local Government House

Smith Square 

London, SW1P 3HZ


Phone: 020 7664 3235

email: libdem@local.gov.uk



Local government is playing its part in tackling the country’s deficit and advancing the Coalition’s key aims of Localism and the Big Society. But local – and central – government are being badly let down by the Communities & Local Government Secretary of State who appears unwilling to lead the change that’s so desperately needed.

Local government has made efficiency savings of 3% each year for the past eight years – in stark contrast to the run-away spending of central government admittedly under the previous administration. We’ve also been planning for further saving – much further – since the true state of the economy became apparent six months ago.

What has been delivered is a difficult cuts package across all government departments but clearly the most severe is to local government. These cuts will have an undoubted impact on all frontline council services – including care services to the vulnerable.

Rather than assist the country’s recovery by making savings to the public sector in a way that can protect local economies and the frontline the cuts are structured in such a way that they will do the opposite. The local government settlement will take a major hit in this coming financial year and further – smaller – cuts in subsequent years. This front-loading means councils do not have the lead-in time necessary to re-engineer services on a lower cost base and ease staff cuts without forced, expensive redundancies. Inexplicably, local government is also being denied the opportunity to spread the cost of reorganisation and downsizing over several years – at no cost to central government – which just makes even bigger in-year cuts inevitable.

The Secretary of State’s role should have been to facilitate necessary savings while at the same time promoting the advance of Localism and the Big Society. Unfortunately since the general election Eric Pickles has felt it better to shake a stick at councillors than work with us. 

Local and central government should be united in a shared purpose. Instead of constantly chastising and denigrating local authorities through the media, the government should be deploying all its efforts and those of its officials to helping councils minimise the impact on vulnerable communities and frontline services. 

We would be delighted to discuss with the Secretary of State positive ways forward in which we could take on the difficult challenges shared by all levels of government and would prefer to do this than continue with the gunboat diplomacy which is the current order of the day.


Cllr Richard Kemp and the following Liberal Democrat Council and Group Leaders

Virginia Gay North Norfolk
Andrew De Freitas North East Lincolnshire Council
Ian Marks Warrington
Cec Tallack Milton Keynes
Tim Carroll South Somerset
Stuart Langhorn Lancaster City Council
David Watts Broxtowe BC
Tony de Vere Vale of White Horse
Keith House Eastleigh BC
Anne Turrell Colchester (NOC)
Sian Reid Cambridge City
Carl Minns Hull City Council
Alan Connett Teignbridge DC
David Budd Purbeck DC
Ann De Vecchi Lewes DC
Dorothy Thornhill Watford Mayor
David Faulkner Newcastle City


Group Leaders  
Alan Boad Warwick DC
Gavin James Basingstoke & Deane BC
Tom Smith-Hughes Essex CC
Joe Abbott South Tyneside
Roger Hayes Bolton MBC
Peter Wilcock Uttlesford BC
Simon McDougall Arun DC
Brendan Haigh Newark & Sherwood DC
Nigel Martin Durham
Hilary Jones Derby City Council
Linda Redhead Halton
Sue Carpendale Babergh DC
Iain Sharpe Watford BC
Kathy Pollard Suffolk CC
Maureen Rigg Stockton
John Boyce Oadby & Wigston BC
Andrew Smith Chicester DC
Phil Taylor Tewkesbury BC
Len Gates Test Valley BC
Ruth Davis South Gloucestershire
Tony Gillam Gedling BC
Chris Maines Lewisham BC
David Milsted North Dorset DC
Roger Price Fareham BC
Brian Greenslade Devon CC
Ian Stewart Cumbria CC
Richard Andrews West Oxfordshire DC
Margaret Rowley Wychavon DC
Ann Buckley Havant BC
Jane Parlour Richmondshire DC
Alan Sherwell Aylesbury Vale DC
Graham Longley Southend BC
Zoe Patrick Oxfordshire CC
Brian Jeffries East Riding of Yorkshire
Bob Sullivan Waltham Forest BC
David Lomax High Peak BC
Paul Coddington Doncaster MBC
Liz Tucker Worcestershire CC
Simon Ashley Manchester City Council
Roger Walshe Sevenoaks DC
John Fisher Staffs Moorlands
Paul Morse Norfolk CC
Jane Clark Wealden DC
Christina Jebb Staffordshire CC
David Walker Charnwood BC
Noel Rippeth Gateshead
Penny Otton Mid Suffolk DC
Nan Farmer Carlisle
David Foster Blackburn with Darwen
Dr Robin Studd Newcastle under Lyme
Peter Chegwyn Gosport BC
Richard Sharp Woking BC
Mary Baldwin Bucks CC
Jerry Roodhouse Warwickshire CC
David Neighbour Hart DC
Arthur Preece Hartlepool BC
Nigel Hartin Shropshire CC
David Neve Tunbridge Wells BC
Geoff Welsh Blaby DC
Roger Kutchinsky Hertsmere BC
Ross Henley Taunton Deane BC
Jack Cohen Barnet BC
Julie Morris Epsom & Ewell
Terry Stacy Islington BC
Alex Perkins Canterbury City
Geoff Chamberlain East Devon DC
David Fearn Derbyshire Dales DC
Helen Dyke Wyre Forest DC
Paul English Craven DC
Paul Elgood Brighton & Hove
Paul Hodgkinson Cotswold DC

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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4 Responses to Our Letter to the Times

  1. Pingback: Autism Interventions: New York Times, Once Again, Pushes Non Evidence Based Floortime And Ignores Evidence Based ABA | Autism spectrum disorder Blog

  2. Cat says:

    Turkeys attempting to negotiate a postponement of Christmas. Your party made it’s bed during the coalition negotiations by accepting Osborne’s political plan for deficit reduction and abandoning one based on economics and social need.

  3. Pingback: Our Letter to the Times | But what does Richard Kemp think? | Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire, – Restaurants, Pubs, Accommodation

  4. Pingback: The Kemp and Pickles show: so much for Coalition spirit | Niklas Smith

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