This week sees the LGA as active as ever in Parliament.( No wonder they never see me at the Town Hall, except to pick up my £1500 a week, plus pension, plus expenses)
Thanks to me, and no one else, The Local Government Finance Bill has defied convention and rolled straight into Committee stage only a week after its second reading. The first session of Committee today, will focus on the relocalisation of business rates on which the LGA has been laying amendments and briefing MPs. This means we get more money to waste on fun things like Chelsea Care. Who said local government is boring?
I was soooo excited to be in the Commons( though one day I want to be in the Lords!! hint, hint, Dave-just joking!) on Monday discussing community budgets for families with multiple problems, as part of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee's wider inquiry into the subject. As I patronisingly explained to the Committee members, community budgets are an essential way we can help meet the challenge of finding further savings in local services without damaging frontline services. What's more, the change necessary at the local level is already happening but the integration of public services requires change in Whitehall, as well as in councils.
Also on Monday, at Dods Local Government Summit on Growth, I was thrilled to share the platform with my old friend, the Secretary of State,'Fatso' Pickles, for the keynote address. Being terrifically important I took the opportunity to highlight some of the laudable work being done to facilitate growth at the local level, and our call for even greater devolution. Fatso tried to get me to discuss my vast allowance and Mr Myers's huge salary but I told him to **** ***
This devolution of money is a jolly good thing: it means that my deputy, Cllr Nick Paget-Brown will be able to 'do' more roads like Exhibition Rd to keep ourselves busy. Nick has asked me if he can have another Special Responsibility Allowance. He did not understand my witty riposte when I told him, "No, but I will give you a Special Irresponsibility Allowance": Lady Pooter thought it so witty!
Finally, I wanted to highlight the new programme of challenge and support that we are offering to our member councils launched last week – the 'Keep it REAL' programme, which offers members the opportunity to benefit from a tailor-made package of support along five distinct themes. This includes commissioning for social outcomes; securing economic, social, and environmental value for money; and strengthening representative and participative democracy. We are looking for councils (application deadline 5pm, 27 January) who want to build on an existing project that addresses one or more of these themes, and who have a clear ambition for how external support could help them go further in reaching their aims. If this appeals, please do get in touch.
I hope you can all see what a fun time I am having mixing with all sorts of important 'personages'. I am just surprised that I have not been made Lord Pooter Cockell. This year I will be meeting the Queen (so may have the possibility to discuss my missing peerage) and ever so many other big wigs. In my next 'exclusive' I will tell you all about it. By the way, (and don't be jealous, Daniel) Hello Magazine are coming to see me 'At Home'. Needless to say, there will a need for certain elements of refurbishment at Chez Pooter!
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Pooter Cockell 'Keeps It Real'