Worcester Standard Article

I think this Government will be remembered for two things: driving down the debt and stabilising our economy, and handing power back to local communities.
Both are very topical but next week the Localism Bill goes before Parliament for its second reading and I wanted to make sure that local people understand what the changes mean for them. I am writing to the Parish Councils to highlight some of the key measures.

I attach huge importance to the Bill and believe that it really will make a great difference to local people. Local things really matter and it is high time that a government recognises this.

The bill will shift power from central government to local communities, thus putting an end to Whitehall diktat. It will establish powerful new rights for local people and communities and will give local people the opportunity to hold their local authorities to account.

The legislation will help build the Big Society by radically transforming the relationships between central government, local government, communities and individuals.

The bill contains a radical package of reforms that will see the planning system revolutionized, communities given control over housing decisions, councils greater power and freedoms and establish powerful new rights for communities.

For councils the Bill will fundamentally change their freedom to act in the interest of their local communities through a new general power of competence. Rather than needing to rely on specific powers, the new power will give councils the legal reassurance and confidence to innovate, drive down costs to deliver more efficient services.

We can look forward to a year where power is but back where it belongs with the local community.

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