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Decentralisation (Local Communities)

Volume 517: debated on Wednesday 3 November 2010

11. What recent discussions she has had with the First Minister on proposals to decentralise powers to local communities. (20334)

My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with the First Minister on all issues affecting Wales. I will meet the Assembly Government’s Minister for Social Justice and Local Government tomorrow.

As the people of Wales may shortly vote for additional powers to be devolved to Wales, and as the Government take forward their localism agenda, does my hon. Friend agree that it is essential that as many of those powers as possible are devolved down from the Assembly to local communities and councils?

Yes, my hon. Friend is right to the extent that I find huge enthusiasm among stakeholders in Wales for the Government’s big society agenda, which seeks to devolve influence down to the lowest possible level. For that purpose, I will be having a meeting with the Minister for Social Justice and Local Government to discuss how the Welsh Assembly Government can participate in the process.

How will the removal of the right of local communities to appeal to the Boundary Commission through public inquiries enhance the power of local communities?

These are matters on which the hon. Gentleman has had plenty of opportunity for debate on the Floor of the House, and he has made his full contribution. [Interruption.]

Order. There is far too much noise in the Chamber. It is a veritable commotion. I want to hear Mr Philip Hollobone.