Sustained and coordinated lobbying for further devolution to London, led by London Councils, was recognised by the government in March when the Chancellor announced, as part of the spring budget, a Memorandum of Understanding on further devolution to London, including business rates. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signalled the government’s agreement to London Government – the boroughs and the Mayor – receiving additional responsibilities over: transport, health, criminal justice, skills and employment support in the capital.
Following concerted lobbying for adult social care funding pressures to be fully funded at the 2016 Autumn Statement, the government found an additional £2 billion nationally for adult social care over the next four years. While this is unlikely to be enough to fully fund adult social care pressures in London, it demonstrates that lobbying arguments proposed by London Councils and others about the adult social care funding pressures were recognised by government.
London Councils led lobbying efforts along with head teachers, parents and London businesses to protect all London’s schools from reductions in funding as a result of the new schools funding formula. The government subsequently published draft proposals with additional funding and protections, leading to significantly lower funding reductions for London than expected. Further protections and commitments to education funding were subsequently included in the main parties’ manifestos ahead of the 2017 General Election.
London Councils successfully negotiated the transfer of £70 million funding from government to boroughs working in sub-regional partnerships for the Work and Health Programme in London. London boroughs will design, commission and manage this devolved programme in London, which will support up to 55,000 Londoners.
Secured Co-Financing Organisation (CFO) status for four lead boroughs for the European Social Fund (ESF) by getting government to change the national criteria. This will enable the London boroughs to add £65 million of ESF to the devolved Work and Health Programme in London, almost doubling the funding available.
Negotiated and agreed the Freedom Pass settlement for the 2017/18 with Transport for London (TfL), successfully achieving an annual reduction in the settlement for the first time in the scheme’s history.
Through the London Borough Grants Programme: 629 sexual and domestic violence survivors were supported through emergency refuge provision and related outreach; 11,803 sexual and domestic violence survivors supported through counselling and advice; while 10,873 young people at risk of homelessness were supported, including 667 young people who were prevented from sleeping rough by accessing emergency accommodation.