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9th June 2017

Statement from Solace President Jo Miller on the UK General Election 2017

This is a statement from Jo Miller, President of Solace, following the UK general election held on 8 June 2017.

Solace would like to congratulate all Returning Officers, Elections Administrators and their staff on the successful running of another smooth, efficient and robust election. In recent years we have borne witness to an unprecedented number of elections and referenda which have all been conducted to produce secure and confident results.

The General Election saw around 32.2 million people voting with a turnout of around 69 percent of the electorate. Balancing the accessibility and security of voter registration and the vote has proved to have been resilient and well managed.

However, the statutory process could be improved and we should pursue changes in the coming months. In time, our attention will move to working alongside a new Government and continue the strong and improving relationship with DCLG and other Whitehall Departments. Recent weeks have demonstrated that our shared challenges spread far beyond an obsession with Brexit negotiations. We hope a Government, of whatever composition, is formed quickly to provide stability and purpose.

We live in testing times and Solace will work with Whitehall to provide local professional insight to ensure national policy makes a positive difference on the front line. In particular, we want to support Government in:

– Setting out a new sustainable local government finance system which includes a root and branch review of business rates retention and council tax;

– Building an approach to local growth that enables places to tailor approaches to economic development, public investment and skills to benefit local communities and their businesses;

– Publishing a White Paper on social care which creates a fair and sufficient level of long-term funding;

– Creating a new approach to housing that ensures all local authorities possess the powers and financial freedom to plan and develop sufficient numbers of homes for their areas;

– Shaping a positive approach to public engagement and civil resilience that builds on the values of our local communities and the power of public service to prevent and resist acts of violent extremism;

-Developing ethical professional practice across the public sector so we have the best leaders and managers in local government now and in the future.