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Standards Board for England

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 10th June 2010.

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Photo of John Pugh John Pugh Liberal Democrat, Southport 10:30 am, 10th June 2010

What steps he plans to take to abolish the Standards Board for England.

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Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

We shall be abolishing the Standards Board for England. The necessary legislation will be in our localism Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech.

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Photo of John Pugh John Pugh Liberal Democrat, Southport

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?

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Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

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.

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Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

Is the Minister aware that he is going to become the pin-up boy for every councillor in the country, and receive an enormous amount of fan mail? Will he ensure that the abolition takes place as soon as possible?

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Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

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.

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