NALC statement on the Queen’s Speech
Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech, Cllr Sue Baxter, chair of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), said:
“Just as England’s 10,000 local (parish and town) councils stepped up to support their communities during the pandemic, they will continue to have an important part to play in the recovery.
“Which is why the Government’s proposals in the Queen’s Speech to create a stronger, healthier and more prosperous nation, must ensure local councils are empowered to build strong, healthy and prosperous localities.
“More and more local councils are playing their part in tackling the climate emergency and I look forward to the Environment Bill continuing its passage through Parliament and NALC will be pressing for additional powers and funding to help councils do even more.
“Communities must be at the heart of a modernised planning system which is kept local and democratic. While we agree the planning system can be improved and there should be more emphasis on design, new legislation must also strengthen the neighbourhood planning process and provide greater protection for neighbourhood plans. NALC will continue to work with the government to ensure the delivery of its white paper does just this and keeps planning locally.
“Rural and coastal areas must not continue to be left behind in accessing and benefitting from good digital and transport connectivity and it will be important that new legislation addresses this and prioritises rural and coastal communities.
“Proposals to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for the voluntary sector will be welcome but should extend beyond charities to local councils. And measures to strengthen and renew democracy must reform outdated laws such as allowing remote council meetings, modernise elections such as digital voting, and promote local democracy so more people understand and get involved in how their community is run.
“While no legislation has been announced regarding devolution, I look forward to continuing to engage constructively with the government on its Levelling Up White Paper and press for the establishment of local councils everywhere and the powers and funding to enable them to deliver on the needs and priorities of local people.”