Members of the NEC were called to a special meeting in London to discuss the leadership timetable.
As your representatives we thanked the team at the Labour Party and paid tribute to Ed Miliband as honest and decent leader.
With Labour no longer the biggest party in local government we must be clear about our role in opposition to the Tory government.
We know the financial tightrope is straining under the pressure with many councils looking ahead at cuts much deeper and damaging than those that went before.
We must be clear with the public that the programme of target cuts from the Tories will take vital services away from our communities. Worst still we may see councils reach breaking point; how deep can the cuts go before they cause a painful death?
We can not allow the Tory government to pick off councils against each other in the way they have on other issues like welfare. They won’t accept responsibility and will instead lay the blame at the door of the council itself, using it as an example of ‘what happens when Labours in charge locally’.
We will work with the government to secure a better financial deal for local government and we will work hard to highlight the real impact of year on year cuts.
We will support devolution to our Cities and Counties where local people want it, but we must be clear that devolution in itself is not a solution to underfunding of services. Fair funding must be addressed.
The next year, and the year beyond that will test our resolve and our organisation and we must pass that test.
With the timetable now set to elect the new leader of the Labour Party we will be working to ensure that each candidate is tested on their understanding and commitment to local government. We would ask that you do the same.
Jim McMahon and Alice Perry, Local Government, NEC