POLICY AND POLITICS

Stronger Things: Real interest in community power at the top of Labour

There is ‘real interest and engagement’ among Labour politicians nationally in community power along with the energy to drive forward the agenda, the leader of Camden LBC has said.

There is ‘real interest and engagement' among Labour politicians nationally in community power along with the energy to drive forward the agenda, the leader of Camden LBC has said.

Asked by The MJ about the challenge of putting community power into practice nationally, Georgia Gould, said: ‘What's been really exciting in local government is there is so much energy behind community power and working differently with our communities.

‘The enthusiasm is there and, with a government that's going to get behind local places and local government to deliver it, I think we're going to see this unleashed even further.

'I think there's a lot of interest and engagement in this work, and the work that New Local are doing, so I'm really excited about it.

'People who come from local government, this is how they've been working, so there is real energy to bring this forward.'

Cllr Gould, who is Labour's General Election candidate for the Parliamentary constituency of Maida Vale and Queen's Park and was an early backer for Sir Keir's bid to become Labour leader, was speaking at today's New Local Stronger Things event at London's Guildhall.

She was asked by interim chief executive of New Local, Jessica Studdert, how some of the biggest challenges the country is facing could be approached at a time when local government is dealing with a funding crisis.

Cllr Gould said: ‘I can't overestimate how tough things are for local government at the moment.

'Funding has been decimated.

‘Many councils have lost more than half their budgets and we are at crisis point.

'Councils have had to pull away from a lot of the preventative community work they want to be doing because they are struggling to fund statutory services.

'Our housing budgets particularly are under massive pressure.

‘There is a stabilisation that needs to happen.

‘The starting point is stability because I think if you've got financial stability you can invest in some of the capacity.'

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