Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:40 pm on 3rd February 2017.

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Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay 12:40 pm, 3rd February 2017

I am conscious of the time and how much has been said already, so I will keep my remarks rather brief.

As I said when I withdrew my new clause, I think it is absolutely right that this Bill goes forward in its current form. It will give local councils a valuable opportunity to vary charges downwards without going through the consultation process that currently exists. It is right, if charges are going up, to get a feel for the whole community’s perspective, but somewhat bizarre that under the current rules and legislation the council has to spend money to do something that would cost it money, but for a wider benefit. The Bill will be very beneficial in dealing with some of the issues that I used to encounter when I was in local government. I will not go through a whole list of the festivals and events that happen in Torbay—I covered some of that on Report—but I do think this will be a valuable opportunity in that regard.

The key thing that I would like to hear from the Minister is how, assuming this Bill is successful in the other place, the Department for Communities and Local Government will work with councils to make sure that its provisions are used. The point that I sometimes make in debates on Fridays and at other times is that legislation is not just something we do for the fun of it—it will actually have an impact. What interest and assessment has he already had from authorities that will look to use this power? What will he do to promote it once these provisions are brought into effect? I will be interested to hear his comments about how this work will be taken forward. This Bill is in the right form and perfectly acceptable, and it should receive its Third Reading today.