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Ministers reject calls for council meetings to be held online Published Date: 04/01/2022

Councils must continue holding meetings in person, the Government has said, as it rejected calls to introduce laws despite the spread of the Omicron variant.

Responding to a written question from Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said:

"A High Court judgement handed down on 27 April 2021 confirmed that the Local Government Act 1972 specifies that council meetings must take place in person at a single, specified, geographical location and being “present” at such a meeting involves physical presence at that location.

"This judgement confirmed that the regulations which allowed local authorities to meet remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic did not apply to meetings after 6 May 2021.

"Any permanent change would require primary legislation, and would depend upon Parliamentary time being available.

"Non-statutory or other informal meetings where local authorities deem that in-person attendance is not required can be held virtually."