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LGC Briefing: Little cause for partying this conference season

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It’s party conference season but there is little in the way of a party atmosphere among Conservative and Labour members.

Today’s Confidence Survey findings: Majority back government intervention as support for reorganisation rises

Today’s devolution development #1: Talks open over breakaway North East devo deal

Today’s devolution development #2: Burnham seeks ‘one voice’ for the north

Prime minister Theresa May’s honeymoon period is rapidly coming to an end with a row brewing over grammar schools and the resignation of Treasury commercial secretary Lord O’Neill.

Despite Jeremy Corbyn being re-elected Labour’s leader for the second time in 12 months, and this time with an increased majority, reports from Liverpool this week confirm the party remains divided.

There are not many crumbs of comfort for either Ms May or Mr Corbyn in LGC’s latest Confidence Survey.

The verdict from local government chief executives, service directors and senior managers is clear: they are not impressed by either the government or the Opposition.

With Britain preparing to leave the European Union there is increased concern about the future state of the economy.

Confidence that more power and control over funding will be devolved from Whitehall to county, city and town halls has also taken a tumble.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid will have done little to inspire confidence he has the sector’s interests at heart following a recent trade mission to North America in which he failed to take a single representative from local government

While confidence in the leadership offered – or not offered – at a national level might be low, there is a growing belief among the sector’s senior officers about meeting the financial challenge, both in the short and medium term.

There’s no doubt local government has become a lot more resilient, and less reliant on government, over the past six years.

Whether that increased optimism endures once chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered his autumn statement on 23 November remains to be seen.

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