Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ros in the Lords: Localism Bill - Committee (5th Day) (again...)

Here's another of Ros's interventions that I hadn't covered, from 5 July 2011...

Ros doesn't like poor legislation, and is rather good at spotting links between seemingly unrelated clauses. This is one example...

Amendment 129LAA

Moved by Lord McKenzie of Luton

129LAA: Schedule 5, page 267, line 17, at end insert-

"( ) On application by a relevant authority, the Secretary of State may direct that the substitute calculations referred to in subsection (5) may be increased by an amount determined by the Secretary of State."

Baroness Scott of Needham Market (Liberal Democrat)

Will the noble Lord consider a scenario in which a local authority is required to increase substantially its council tax because it has to pay one of the EU fines being introduced by the Government in an earlier part of the Bill?

Earl Attlee (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)

My Lords, I hope that the need to pay an EU fine will be an exceedingly unlikely event.

Lord McKenzie of Luton (Labour)

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his response but I do not think he really dealt with the question about an EU fine. It is provided for in this Bill and if the provision is removed we would all be delighted. A fine could be visited on a local authority at the last minute potentially after it has set its budget and its referendum detail is public.

I have to admit that I do wonder about the provision of a clause requiring a referendum if a council tax rise is above a certain amount. Given that voters have an opportunity to 'throw the buggers out' every four years, any ruling administration has to be aware of the views of local residents. It's called democracy, if I recall.

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