“Labour has announced proposals for a new representative body for councils to give them a regular voice at Westminster and a direct say on policy.
Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities and local government secretary, will set out the plans for a local government commission, made up of leaders from all types of local authority.
Under Labour, the representatives would meet every month with the communities secretary and other cabinet ministers and “inform decision-making”, Gwynne will say in a speech to the Local Government Association (LGA) conference in Warwick.
Labour said the current communities secretary, James Brokenshire, had met directly with just one council in April to June last year, the last three months for which records were available.
There have been significant cuts to central grants for councils since 2010, and the LGA says its members are facing a funding gap of £3.2bn in the next financial year.
In his speech, Gwynne will argue that councils are hugely neglected by the centre of government, all the more so given that a Labour calculation found that 44% of the commitments in it 2017 manifesto would have fallen directly or indirectly to local authorities in England to implement.
He will say: “For nine years, ministers have sat in meetings in Whitehall and cut funding to councils hundreds of miles away, never having to see the library that is closed, the potholes that go unfixed and the elderly people that go without care as a result.
“To fix our broken political system which has left people disconnected and disillusioned with Westminster politics, we need to put local people and communities at the heart of decision-making.”
The new commission would “ensure that councillors can influence every decision that affects local councils”, he will say. “We need their guidance, your support and your advice, in ensuring that from Whitehall to our town halls we are being as effective as possible in helping our hardworking communities. Gone will be the days when we have a secretary of state for local government that doesn’t want to know local government.”