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8th May 2020

A bank holiday message from Solace President, Martin Swales

Today marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day and whilst the way we will honour those who gave their lives may be different to how we previously envisaged, it provides an appropriate time for us all to reflect on both the past and the future.

This continues to be an extremely difficult time, both professionally and personally, for everyone working in local government and for all other arms of the public sector. There is no doubt in my mind that local government, at all levels, is rising to the challenge of this national emergency. Working together we have helped to reduce the pressure on the NHS and saved countless lives.

For many weeks now, together with regional Chief Executive colleagues and the LGA, we have been working intensively with Ministers and Civil Servants across Government departments making the case for Councils to have the right tools and resources to do our job and striving to ensure that Government announcements are aligned to local needs.

Last year we worked hard towards uniting behind a single vision for the future of local government and the foundations we laid then, I hope, demonstrate constructive cross-governmental joint endeavour in a spirit of collaboration to ensure the voice of local government is clearly heard. It is more important than ever that there is continued recognition of the crucial role of local government.

What is rapidly becoming clear is that if we are to build the new resilient communities and economies we need and see beyond initial recovery in the ‘new normal’ there must be a fundamental reset of the role, powers and financial sustainability of local government.

I have always felt incredibly honoured to represent the Solace membership but in recent weeks the sense of pride that I feel as Solace President has grown even further. I want to thank you all once again for everything you are doing in such challenging circumstances. I hope you manage to find some time over this bank holiday weekend to relax, reflect and recharge.

Best wishes,


You can read an expanded update from the President here.