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Blears unveils residents' petitions

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Hazel Blears has revealed plans to introduce residents' petitions to empower citizens.

The communities secretary outlined three new citizens' “rights”; to be able to trigger action on local issues - such as tackling anti-social behaviour, to force public debate and for community groups to run local assets, like halls.

The rights will be contained in the Community Empowerment, Housing & Economic Regeneration Bill expected later this year.

The bill formed a key part of prime minister Gordon Brown’s draft Queen’s Speech to devolve more power to the communities as part of “a reinvention of the way we govern”.

Liberal Democrat local government spokeswoman Julia Goldsworthy attacked the move as being unoriginal. She said: "Many councils are already forging ahead in empowering communities and today’s proposals are not new ideas."

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