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We shall be abolishing the Standards Board for England. The necessary legislation will be in our localism Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech.
I thank the Minister for that answer and welcome him to his position. He brings enormous experience of local government to the post.
We all agree that £10 million could be better spent to better effect, but what rights of appeal will there be if the local process goes wrong or goes amiss, as it sometimes does?
I thank my hon. Friend for his welcome. He is right that a safety net is needed, and we are in discussion with our local government colleagues about the most appropriate way of moving forward.
I would like to claim that, for my Liberal Democrat colleagues, I already was, but I am happy to be so for others as well.
Around the country, there are councillors of every political persuasion deeply frustrated by the fact that the Standards Board remains a burden and a threat to them. It costs £7.8 million, but it dealt with only 1,000 real complaints last year, which is £7,800 per complaint. The sooner we get rid of it, the better. That will be done on a statutory basis through the decentralisation and localism Bill.