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Local Government: Reform

Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account was taken of the local election purdah period in setting the timetable for the consultation on local government restructuring; and what guidance has been produced for local authorities on statements that may be made on such restructuring during the purdah period. (141847)

In deciding the consultation period, the Secretary of State had regard to the date of the local elections. The code of practice on local authority publicity makes it clear that local authorities should not at any time use public funds to mount publicity campaigns whose primary purpose is to persuade the public to hold a particular view on a question of policy, and that authorities must take particular care when publicity is issued immediately prior to an election. In particular, where publicity is used to comment on the proposals or policies of central Government or other local authorities the content should be objective, balanced, informative and accurate.