COVID-19 has redefined how we all think about where and how we live. Returning to the old normal is no longer enough. We need to reassess what we want from our local areas, public services, our communities and lives. What does local mean to our communities now?
Councillors and their councils have been true leaders during the coronavirus pandemic. We have shown what is possible when leadership is rooted in local communities. When rapid action was needed, we delivered it for our residents. Despite facing a significant funding gap, we created new services, pulled partners together and instinctively protected the most vulnerable. Councils have delivered for their communities.
A response to a crisis cannot be the limit of our ambitions. We must now take the lead in rebuilding our communities. If we are allowed to lead, we can do so much more to help level up our communities, and in turn, our nation. With the right tools and resources councils can deliver on the ambitions we have for the diverse communities we represent.
Our latest public opinion survey shows 71 per cent of residents trust their council and 75 per cent are satisfied with the way their local council runs things in their area.
What is needed is a stronger working relationship across Whitehall so that we can effectively engage all of government in a debate about how we build services for the future. Let councils and communities bring forward the innovation and creative thinking they have demonstrated during this crisis. Let us have an open debate as equal partners with shared goals.
Let's start the discussion.