Local Authorities Returning After Covid

Following complaints from constituents, I asked the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with local authorities on returning to town halls and other office facilities following the covid-19 pandemic.

In his written reply, the Minister responded that Local Authorities are independent of central government. The Minister said that now that all COVID-19 restrictions are no longer in force, it is for them to determine their own working arrangements, with a return to usual service being the norm.

I am pleased the Minister confirmed that Local Authorities are in a position to determine their own working arrangements and a return to usual service can be expected. Many constituents have complained to me that they are no longer able to contact the Council. In fact, most council officers are still working from home. People need to speak to officers directly rather than online and many senior citizens are not familiar with online working.

The Council should return to face to face working with my constituents who need information such as benefits and cost of living support. As the Minister has confirmed this is “the norm”: that is what the Town Hall is for.