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Local Government Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 9th February 2017.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Clauses 33 to 36 stand part.

Photo of Rob Marris Rob Marris Labour, Wolverhampton South West

Clause 33 relates to guidance and, according to subsection (2)(a), that will cover:

“the kinds of projects which may, and may not, be regarded as appropriate ones in relation to which to impose infrastructure supplements”.

Will the Minister give us some idea as to when the guidance is likely to be issued by the Secretary of State and its legal force? In the Bill we have had “direction”, in a different context, and “regulations” used. This is “guidance”, but how strong is guidance? If the Secretary of State gave guidance that school buildings were not to be included in an infrastructure supplement but the Mayor of a combined authority wished to include them and could make an argument that they were infrastructure, who would get their way?

Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

Clause 33, as the hon. Gentleman rightly said, will require Mayors to have regard to any guidance that the Secretary of State provides in relation to infrastructure spending. The Bill sets out a wide range of requirements that must be applied to the development of an infrastructure supplement, including who can impose a supplement, restrictions on what it may be used for, the consultation that must take place and what should be included in the prospectus. In addition, the clause provides that the Secretary of State may issue guidance to assist Mayors and businesses in the process. The type of guidance that I would expect to be issued by the Secretary of State would be statutory guidance, so there will be a formal guide for the particular Mayor in a particular area to work to.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 32 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 33 to 36 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned.— (Jackie Doyle-Price.)

Adjourned till Tuesday 21 February at twenty-five minutes past Nine o’clock.