Localism Act

Status of the bill: Enacted

Main purpose of the bill:

To return power to local authorities and communities through a number of measures including control of housing and planning decisions.

Main points of the bill:

Provisions relating to Councils:

Provides councils with a general power of competence and sets out the boundaries of the general power.

Allows local authorities to return to the committee system if they so choose and provides for the creation of directly elected mayors, subject to referendums, in local authorities specified by the Secretary of State.

Abolishes the Standards Board regime and the model code of conduct for local authority councillors.

Gives residents, councillors and councils the power to instigate a local referendum on any local issue.

Sets out a power for local residents to approve or veto excessive council tax rises. Any local authority (including police and fire authorities) and larger parishes setting an increase above a threshold proposed by the Secretary of State and approved by the House of Commons would trigger a referendum of all registered electors in their area.

Establishes council tax level precedents, setting the threshold for petitions to local government.

Allows councils more discretion over business rate relief.

Enables voluntary and community groups to express an interest in running a local authority service and requires local authorities to carry out a procurement exercise for running that service.

Provides an opportunity for local community groups to bid to buy buildings or land which are listed, by the local authority, as assets of community value.

Provisions relating to Housing:

Abolishes the requirement to provide Home Improvement Packs.

Reforms the Housing Revenue Account system.

Requires every local housing authority to publish a tenancy strategy and provides for a new form of flexible tenure for social housing tenants.

Gives local authorities the power to determine whether people do or do not qualify for social housing within their areas.

Enables local authorities to discharge their duty to homeless people by using private rented accommodation.

Reforms regulation of social housing providers by abolishing the Tenant Services Authority and transferring its functions to the Homes and Communities Agency.

Amends the way in which a social tenant may make a complaint about a landlord and improves the ability of social tenants to move to different areas.

Provisions relating to Planning:

Abolishes Regional Spatial Strategies.

Abolishes the Infrastructure Planning Commission and provides for the Secretary of State to take the final decision on major infrastructure proposals of national importance

Amends the Community Infrastructure Levy which allows councils to charge developers to pay for infrastructure.

Provides for the creation of neighbourhood development orders and plans, sets out the requirements they must meet and provides for appropriate charges and financial assistance.

Gives new housing and regeneration powers to the Greater London Authority and abolishes the London Development Agency.

Enables the Mayor of London to establish a Mayoral Development Corporation for the purposes of securing regeneration in designated areas of Greater London.

Progress of the bill:

The Localism Bill was presented to Parliament on 13 December 2010.

Commons:
First Reading: 13.12.10 Second Reading: 17.01.11 Committee Debate: 25.01.11 27.01.11 01.02.11 03.02.11 08.02.11 10.02.11 15.02.11 17.02.11 01.03.11 03.03.11 08.03.11 10.03.11 Report Stage: 17.05.11 18.05.11 Third Reading: 18.05.11

Lords:
First Reading: 19.05.11 Second Reading: 07.06.11 Committee Stage: 20.06.11 23.06.11 28.06.11 30.06.11 05.07.11 07.07.11 12.07.11 14.07.11 19.07.11 20.07.11 Report Stage: 05.09.11  07.09.11  12.09.11 14.09.11 10.10.11 12.10.11 17.10.11 Third Reading: 31.10.11

Ping Pong: 07.11.11 Royal Assent: 15.11.11

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