Clause 1

Part of Localism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 1st February 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government 11:45 am, 1st February 2011

Put that down to me learning the job. Perhaps there is a better word than “limitless”. The fact that we are not defining every boundary of this power in clause 1 is deliberate. In the past, local authorities could only do things that were permitted to them by legislation. We are now inverting that and saying, “You can do anything that isn’t forbidden by legislation.” That does not mean that we are taking away the current forbidden territory and saying to authorities that they  can go into the forbidden territory. It is not saying that they can abandon their statutory and legal duties that are imposed by existing legislation. Perhaps it is that concept that I failed to convey in my previous contributions. I apologise if that is the case. That is the real point of clause 1. Instead of having a regime in which everything has to be authorised by Parliament, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford East pointed out that often means the Secretary of State of the day, and instead of having a regime that can proceed only under permission and under legislation, we are changing it round and saying, “You can do anything an individual can do unless it is forbidden.”