Mill Hill East Transport (before the bean counters cut it all)


Monday, 13 December 2010

Localism Bill announced by Coalition

Department of Communities Press Release

BBC summary of the Localism Bill (taken from here):

• Councils will have a "general power of competence", allowing them to do anything not specifically banned. Fire authorities will get a similar power

• Councils will be allowed to return to the committee structure if they want.

• Councillors will be able to engage in normal political activities without being liable to legal challenge when they take decisions on the grounds they have a closed mind. Ministers want to clarify the law on this because the current rules have led to some councillors being discouraged from speaking on certain issues.

• The Standards Board for England will be abolished.

• Local Government Ombudsman rulings will become binding.

• Councils will have to publish a senior pay policy statement. If councils want to ignore it, there will have to be a vote at full council.

• Councils will lose the power to charge for bin collections.

• The duty on councils to promote greater involvement in local democracy will be abolished. Ministers think this is "an unnecessary burden" on councils.

• The government will be given the power to recover money from councils if they incur fines by breaking EU law.

• Councils will be given the power to instigate referendums. They will be non-binding.

• Voters will be given the power to veto excessive council tax increases. Any increase above a ceiling set by the communities secretary will have to be approved in a referendum.

• Community groups will have a "right to challenge", meaning they can apply to run local services.

• Communities will be given the right to buy certain community assets. Councils will keep a list of valued assets and, if they are put up for sale, communities will be given time to raise the money to buy them.

• The planning inspectorate will lose the right to rewrite local plans.

• Neighbourhoods will be given the right to permit development in their areas without the need for planning applications.

• Developers planning large schemes will have to consult the community before submitting a planning application.

• The infrastructure planning commission will be abolished. Instead there will be a new fast-track process for approving major infrastructure projects.

• Councils will be able to decide who qualifies for their housing waiting list.

• Councils will be allowed to offer short-term council house tenancies.

• A national homeswap scheme for social housing tenants will be set up.

• The law requiring home information packs will be abolished. (It has already been suspended.)

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