Who decides for communities of coast and of country?

Hywel Lloyd, LCC Co-Founder

As Parliament returns we have the prospect of two imminent by-elections and a conference season dominated by the ebbs and flows of framing the general election to come.

While that general election can’t come soon enough, Conference will help settle some of Labour’s platform. To that end we have invited a range of LCC contributors, endorsed Candidates and the CPTN team to consider how domestic policies might better reflect, and respond to, the needs of communities of coast and or country.  Essential when the Conservatives have all but given up on these voters.  

Over the coming weeks we will highlight those perspectives here, and encourage you to join us for our Virtual C&C Conference (register here) to discuss the best ideas as part of Labour’s offer to communities of the coast and of the country. 

One reoccurring theme of our LCC/CPTN contributions to the NPF, here and here, is the question of who decides, what, where and when.  We welcome the existing commitments to devolution, and hope they will only strengthen under Angela’s leadership of the Shadow DLUHC team – there’s a real opportunity to support all our towns (1,000+) with strengthened Town Councils, more able to make and take opportunity that help their towns thrive.

Summer politics included suggestions of changes to the Machinery of Government (MOG) as part of plans to overhaul the way a Labour governed state would deliver for people. When the latest population stats for 2021/2 continue the trend of more people living in rural England than living in the greater London area – some 9.7m[i] to approximately 8.8m[ii] – is it right that Rural Affairs is but a small part of a much wider portfolio (the RA of DEFRA)? 

How might we meet the needs of communities of coast and of country if they either had the devolutionary benefits of a Mayor (for the South or Jurassic Coasts…) or perhaps a Department of Place that does join up the dots for them….

While the suggestion of a revised House of Lords may be slipping to the background, it and other ways of engaging, securing buy-in and consent are going to be key to Labour’s ability to change things for the better.  We have long argued for Labour Peers as spokespeople for those parts of the country we aren’t currently representing, yet will need to know and understand if we are to govern well. If the proposals for 100 new Peers does firm up, we would love to see a Labour team to ensure coverage of every historic county of England (39), Scotland (34) and Wales (13). Some clearly already have a representative, a Council Leader or a Mayor, some existing Peers would volunteer, so perhaps only half the 100 need to be focused on providing a coast and county voice – one that shows Labour takes seriously the issues of every community.

Who and how they decide is a key part of better government – next we will look at what they need to make better decisions about….

[i] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rural-population-and-migration/rural-population-and-migration

[ii] https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/londons-population

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