Local Government Bill — 12 Jan 1999
Order for Second Reading read.
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
The Bill provides for the replacement of crude, universal council tax capping with new reserve powers to protect the council tax payer and new arrangements for achieving best value in the development and delivery of local authority services. It provides a crucial role for the new National Assembly in Wales. The Under-Secretary of State for Wales, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, Central (Mr. Jones) will say something about that later.
Modern councils put people first. They are at their best when leading their local communities, working with partners to develop and achieve a vision for their area, striving for continuous improvement in the delivery of local services, involving and responding to local people and building effective partnerships with local businesses and the local community.
The Bill is the first step in the wider modernisation of local government set out in our White Paper last year. Our proposals to transform the political management and ethical framework of councils will be published soon in a draft Bill and other measures will follow.
The Bill concentrates on the bread-and-butter issues: raising the quality of public services to improve the quality of people's lives; creating a level playing field to ensure real and fair competition in service provision and the efficiency gains that competition brings; and recognising the immense contribution made by public servants in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The Government's belief in modern public services comes from our traditional values of community and solidarity. We believe that, by the strength of our common endeavour, we can achieve more than we achieve alone.
That is why communities work together, through their local councils, to ensure the provision of education for children, homes for the homeless, care for the elderly and vulnerable, regeneration for run-down neighbourhoods, crime prevention and community safety; and to plan better public transport. That contrasts with the open hostility of the Conservative party to the very idea of community. The Government embrace the values of community; the Conservatives scorn them. That is why the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan), a Front-Bench health spokesman for the Conservative party, described community as "atavistic, backward-looking, irrational".
Mr. Robert Jackson (Wantage):
As the Minister is so very keen on the importance of local communities and
I beg to move, To leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:
"this House, while welcoming the repeal of Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1988 concerning compulsory competitive tendering, declines to give the Local Government Bill a Second Reading because, instead of creating a system of local government that is powerful and free, it grants comprehensive powers to the Secretary of State over local government, amounting to the nationalisation of local government, it creates a culture whereby local government is more concerned with the requirements of Whitehall than the needs of local residents, it retains and incrementally increases capping, thus blurring accountability for Council Tax and service levels, it fails to grant a power of general competence to local authorities, and it alters the way in which Council Tax Benefit subsidy is paid in such a way that poor Council Tax payers will pay for the benefits of the poorest Council Tax payers."
ion put, That the amendment be made:--
The House divided: Ayes 35, Noes 341.
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Lab||339 (+2 tell)||0||0||81.8%|
|LDem||0||34 (+2 tell)||0||78.3%|