Committee (3rd Day)

Part of Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 29th June 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Janke Baroness Janke Liberal Democrat 3:45 pm, 29th June 2015

I thank the Minister for her response. I am perhaps not as discouraged as I thought I might be. However, I hope that the complexity of the tax system will not be a barrier to giving local powers and local accountability to achieving local projects. Transport is a particular issue in this country. To give a practical example, we in Bristol had to wait something like 15 years to be told that we were not going to get a tram whereas our twin city of Bordeaux not only conceived of its tram but built it and had it in operation within a fraction of that time.

I understand from the Minister’s remarks that should a combined authority wish to make proposals that might include a tourist tax or differentiated VAT or some kinds of local tax, these would all be considered. At the moment, while there is a central allocation determined by government, there is not a great deal of incentive for those who are more entrepreneurially minded in local authorities to create revenue streams to pay for important projects. That is what I have understood. Equally, the equalisation element would need to be looked at. We have very different circumstances in different parts of the country but, again, it should not be a barrier, and we need only look at our international competitors to know that this is the case.

I hope that we can pursue this a little further and that we might revisit it on Report. In that case, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 43 withdrawn.

Amendment 44 not moved.

Amendment 44A

Moved by Lord Beecham

44A: Clause 8, page 10, line 2, at end insert—

“( ) The Secretary of State may by order make provision for conferring powers on a combined authority to set multi-year finance settlements and retain business rates revenue in relation to its area.”