Headlines: January 14th, 2009

Local authorities are being given the chance to increase their ability to deal with the credit crunch. A special learning network is being set up by the Local Government Information Unit in partnership with the Local Economic Policy Unit at London Southbank University.

The LGiU said it was taking action in view of the bad economic news so far in the New Year and the bleak predictions for 2009 at the same time that a key role had been identified for councils in revitalising local economies. The network will focus on economic development. Its primary aim will be to increase both strategic and practical capacity in councils so they can be better prepared to deal with the urgent need to protect their communities in the current economic crisis.

Andrew Collinge, the Unit’s Director of Policy, said, “The economy will be the overriding concern for local government in 2009. Responding to duties and opportunities emerging from the Sub-National Review so that local businesses and communities are given the very best chance of weathering the storm is vital. This learning network will help participating authorities significantly in this endeavour.”

The LGiU says early interest in the network has been high. Initially it will run for a year. Sessions centred on a variety of topics and featuring contributions from key players will take place every six weeks.