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Localism Bill postponed, again

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The Localism Bill has been delayed again, LGC understands.

The bill, which with around 200 clauses is expected to lay out a number of the government’s key reforms to local government, housing and planning, was initially expected to be published in late November.

But as LGC revealed last month, it was then delayed two weeks after cross-departmental wrangling over proposals to hand more powers to directly elected mayors.

Then last week Number 10 said the bill would be published on 9 December, with last weekend’s Sunday newspapers briefed on its contents.

However, it now appears that the bill’s first reading has slipped again.

LGC was told part of the problem was DCLG ministers had thrown “an unnecessary clock of secrecy around the bill” leading to a lack of cross-departmental consultation.

There has also been problems with the parliamentary timetable, LGC was told, after initial plans to introduce the bill in the House of Lords were resisted by chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and cabinet office minister Oliver Letwin , who, as “guardians” of the coalition agreement, argued that the bill was central to the identity of the coalition and should be introduced in the House of Commons.

However, the House of Commons timetable is currently congested with other bills, leading to delay.

The Department for Communities & Local Government could not confirm a new date for publication of the bill.

A DCLG spokeswoman said: “We don’t have a confirmed date for the bill. Our position is that it will be published shortly”.

According to DCLG the following actions will be included in the bill:

* 1.2ii, directly elected mayors
* 2.1ii, measures to reinvigorate local accountability, democracy and participation
* 2.4v, closure of Regional Development Agencies
* 4.1ii, social housing measures
* 4.3iii, abolition of Home Information Packs
* 4.5v, reform of the Housing Revenue Account
* 4.6ii, home swap measures to increase mobility among social housing tenants
* 4.10ii, abolition of the Tenant Services Authority
* 5.1v, reform of the planning system
* 5.3ii, repeal of Regional Strategies and introduction of a duty to co-operate for local authorities
* 5.4ii, abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission

You can read more on the delays to the Localism Bill at chief reporter Allister Hayman’s blog.

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