Leader’s new national role will help Blackpool ‘share best practice’

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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Blackpool’s council leader has been given extra powers on the national body which looks after the interests of local authorities.

Coun Simon Blackburn has been appointed chief whip of the Local Government Association (LGA) Labour Group.

He says the role, which is unpaid, will benefit Blackpool through creating stronger links with best practice among councils around the country.

It will also give him more access to senior government figures.

Coun Blackburn said: “Having served as deputy whip of the LGA Labour Group for the past year, I was delighted to be elected as chief whip.

“This unpaid post gives me an opportunity to take up the issues which affect Blackpool on a national stage, and as one of the leading figures in the LGA, regular meetings and conversations with colleagues from around the UK, ministers, civil servants and shadow ministers.

“I am currently also a lead peer for the LGA, responsible for embedding sector-led improvement, i.e. council-to-council support, in councils across England and Wales.

“This enables me to see at first hand innovation and best practice from countless authorities - which is fed back into our way of working in Blackpool.”

Elections for positions within the LGA are held annually.

The new arrangements will commence at the LGA Labour Group AGM on Tuesday July 29.

The LGA Labour Group exists to provide a strong voice for Labour in local government and represents and supports Labour groups in England and Wales and the Labour councillors within them.

Earlier this year Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, criticised Coun Blackburn for attending an LGA meeting instead of a full meeting of Blackpool Council which Coun Williams said was the first chance for councillors to ask questions about budget cuts.