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Amendment 1

Part of Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] - Committee – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Labour 5:00 pm, 25th February 2020

We already know from what the Minister said at Second Reading that she will say that the decision on a new tax rests with Her Majesty’s Treasury and it thinks that local authorities already have ample means to raise funding. I am sure she will say that again. The noble Lord raises some fundamental points about local government finance, and I am very sympathetic to them. I have been trying to put forward a very simple suggestion: as a tourism levy has been floated by a number of local authorities and we are seeing one implemented soon in Edinburgh, why not use the Commonwealth Games as a way to pilot it—without commitment to any other city or area of the country or that it will be a long-term tax—to see whether it could work?

I understood that, post-election, Her Majesty’s Treasury was looking at changing all the rules of engagement as part of the Government’s new strategy towards local government and to help in some of the more deprived parts of the country. This is a very straightforward way to try something out to see whether it would work, whether it would impact on the hotel economy—a downturn is clearly one risk—and whether it would be a very straightforward way to enable local authorities to raise more resources for sports, leisure and culture in the future. I do not see the problem with having a pilot scheme to allow that to happen.