Committee (3rd Day)

Part of Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 29th June 2015.

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Photo of Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville Conservative 3:30 pm, 29th June 2015

My Lords, this is a brief intervention. One of the most attractive features underlying this legislation is the restoration of local pride up and down the country in the communities and neighbourhoods involved. I have always regretted from my time as Higher Education Minister that the relationship between universities and their surrounding communities, which had been very strong in the 19th century, gradually declined as the years went on and were not nearly as effective as they had historically been.

In the light of the amendment which has been moved, I wish to make a generic remark rather than a technical one. I can recall the circumstances in which decisions were taken at national level to reduce the amount of money retained by a local authority in terms of the resources raised within it. The local authority’s powers to have that retention were diminished. I recall that those circumstances arose because of the view of local business that it was perfectly possible for the economic situation in which it had to work to be changed overnight by a large switch in the power of an authority. I shall therefore be interested in what sense emerges from the Government, when my noble friend comes to reply, of not going backwards on that consequence of the circumstances which they replaced.