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London Reforms and the Localism Bill

Volume 519: debated on Wednesday 1 December 2010

I am today announcing a new settlement for London which includes a package of measures to be included in the forthcoming localism Bill.

These far reaching proposals include measures which will significantly devolve power to the Greater London Authority, London boroughs and beyond and they will streamline the plethora of agencies in London’s public sector landscape. They are based on proposals put forward by the Mayor and London boroughs themselves. We have listened to key players in the capital and responded to their ideas.

The measures include:

The devolution of executive powers over housing investment from the Homes and Communities Agency to the GLA so that there is more decentralised control over housing investment decisions in the capital.

The abolition of the London Development Agency, with its city-wide roles on regeneration and management of European funding to be transferred to the GLA so that the mayor is directly accountable.

New powers for the Mayor of London to create Mayoral Development Corporations to focus regeneration where it is needed most, such as to help secure East London’s Olympic legacy, in partnership with London boroughs.

London boroughs will be given greater control over key local planning decisions that affect their local communities. The mayor will only consider the largest planning applications in future.

A more streamlined approach to mayoral strategies and increased powers of scrutiny for the London Assembly over these strategies, including the power to reject final strategies by a two thirds majority.

A new requirement for the GLA Group to publish details of all expenditure over £500 and openness rules will be extended to Transport for London.

These reforms will drive decision making back into the hands of the mayor and locally elected London leaders, streamlining the way London is run and paving the way for further devolution to London boroughs.