2018 was a tough year for retailers, with household names going into administration or announcing major restructuring and store closures. The HCLG committee concludes they are on the brink, yet with the right strategic leadership they can thrive in the future. Local authorities should be at the heart of this.
By 2046 there will be seven million more people aged over 65 in the United Kingdom, but the changing demographics will impact differently in villages, towns and cities of Britain in ageing. Services will need to plan for the differential pattern of ageing if a crisis is to be averted.
Mobility as a Service describes services which allow users to plan and book travel on multiple modes of transport from different providers in a single transaction. The Transport Select Committee’s report calls on the government to take a much more active role in shaping the future development of MaaS.
There has been less focus on towns as ‘engines of growth’ for the national economy, yet millions of people live, work, shop and socialise in towns. This briefing provides an overview of research and approaches used by governments to support towns in the UK and Ireland.
The DCMS Civil Society Strategy brings together the public sector, private businesses, charities and volunteers to tackle social problems and build a fairer society. Commitments include £165m to support community organisations, youth employment, address financial exclusion trial participatory democracy techniques, harness ‘tech for good’, and develop smarter and more flexible commissioning, social finance and public service mutuals. Local authorities are acknowledged as key agents.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee has reported on converting schools to academies drawing on National Audit Office work. It looks at local support for schools, including Academy Trust failure, and the consequences for the school system in England; it finds that “arrangements for oversight of schools are fragmented and incoherent”.
Tourism has often been pointed to as a possible source of income, jobs and development in more deprived areas of the UK. However, it presents its own opportunities and challenges. This briefing examines some of the advantages and disadvantages of encouraging tourism, particularly in more rural or remote areas.
There are parts of the UK where there are growing numbers of second homes, holiday homes and increasingly Airbnbs. Both the benefits and costs are often disputed: we consider evidence about their impact on housing, public services and communities in this briefing.
Five cross-border councils (Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council) are committed to harness the area’s assets and promote sustainable economic growth. The UK government promised to work with this partnership towards a Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
Many sources of water supplies are overstretched and, with climate change and a growing population, much of England could see significant supply shortages by the 2050s - particularly in the South East. This briefing summarises the report into the state of water resources and considers how local authorities might respond.