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Councils at heart of Queen's Speech

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Moves to strengthen councils’ economic role and business rates supplements are at the heart of the government’s legislative programme.

The Queen announced a string of bills affecting councils in the state opening of Parliament.

A Local Democracy, Economic Development & Construction Bill applying predominantly to England will place a duty on councils to monitor local economic conditions.

It will also impose a duty to promote democracy and respond to petitions.

The bill also separates the Boundary Committee for England from the Electoral Commission and creates a new national tenants' voice organisation.

A Business Rates Supplement Bill was not mentioned in the speech itself but will allow councils to set up supplements of 2p in the pound to promote economic development.

A Health Bill will create a new NHS constitution and extend the local government ombudsman’s remit to cover people who have arranged their own social care.

A Policing & Crime Reduction Bill will include tighter controls on lapdancing clubs and alcohol sales.

Other relevant bills for local government include a Children, Skills and Learning Bill, requiring schools to co-operate more on bad behaviour, a Welfare Reform Bill and a Child Poverty Bill.

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