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Bylaw powers go ahead with caveat

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Councils are to be given powers to revoke bylaws without Whitehall approval, but powers to allow them to make bylaws without such approval look set to be limited to those deemed “sensible and appropriate”.

Local government minister Grant Shapps announced that councils would be handed powers to “revoke any bylaws they no longer want or need without Whitehall interference”.

But the announcement did not include allowing councils to make their own bylaws, as Mr Shapps had promised last summer.

In March plans to allow councils to make bylaws without approval were put on hold after Westminster City Council’s controversial proposal to ban soup kitchens and rough sleeping.

A Department for Communities & Local Government spokeswoman said there would be an announcement “shortly” on powers “to make sensible and appropriate bylaws”.

Currently, bylaws proposed by councils have to be confirmed by the secretary of state before they come into force. But last August Mr Shapps said councils should be able to set them “with no ministerial involvement at all”.

At the time DCLG said “councils will be able to use these powers from early New Year”.

The previous government introduced provisions in the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 that allowed for an alternative procedure for making bylaws in a wide range of areas under the remit of DCLG and several other departments without the need for ministerial consent. The legislation came into force in January 2010.

Judith Barnes, a partner at law firm Eversheds, said it would be a “relatively simple matter” for DCLG to place an order before Parliament to bring the provisions into effect. “If it’s a commitment they’ve made then it’s surprising it’s not now in place,” she said.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Roger

    Just another demonstration of the sham that localism will be once it becomes law. Central government only ever wishes to pass down those powers they have little or no interest in, hence the 142 clauses in the bill giving the minster the final say on many issues.
    This fear of the maverick council creating rules that reflect their looney left wing, madcap green, dopey liberal, or paranoid/extremist right wing views is understandable. Given the experience of local government law making in the USA, I suppose it was always going to be this way.

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