Local Government Financing

Part of Opposition Day — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:27 pm on 29th June 2010.

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Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Minister for Housing 4:27 pm, 29th June 2010

Central Government obviously have a large budget-[Hon. Members: "Ah!"] They do have a large budget, so the limit will initially be set at £25,000- [Interruption.] Opposition Members are making a great deal of noise, but each of the projects that I mentioned a moment ago would have been captured under such a system. We would have known about the red sofas, the tranquillity centre and all the adverse expenditure. That would have helped. One has to wonder at the Opposition-after 13 years without such transparency and openness, when the coalition offers to open up government, they just want us to go further. That is fantastic, but they had 13 years in which to go much further, but they did not and they wasted taxpayers' money.

The coalition agreement makes clear what to expect. The time has come to transfer power away from Westminster and Whitehall into the hands of communities and individuals. We will make rapid progress because we have already announced several shake-ups of power. The move to a more democratic planning system will sweep away arbitrary top-down targets and hated regional spatial strategies, introducing powerful financial incentives to local people instead.

The previous Housing Minister is no longer in the Chamber, but I am a fan of his blog. I note that this week he writes:

"DCLG ministers are changing the planning system."

He adds:

"Ours was too top-down".

Hon. Members can read that online-a road to Damascus conversion from Labour, now in opposition. The new coalition intends to prove that Ministers can be localist in government, just as we can in opposition. There will be no switch-around.

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