Ellie Ames 08 November 2023

Councils respond to King’s Speech

Councils respond to King’s Speech image
Image: Solid photos / Shutterstock.com

The Local Government Association (LGA) has responded to proposed legislation announced yesterday in the King’s Speech.

Among the announcements was a Tobacco and Vapes Bill to restrict the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children and prevent anyone currently aged fourteen or younger from ever legally buying cigarettes.

The chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, David Fothergill, said it was ‘progressive piece of legislation that would undoubtedly impact on smoking prevalence’.

An Automated Vehicles Bill includes a requirement for local authorities to send legal orders they make, including setting speed limits and closing roads, to a central publication platform.

The Government said the data would be used to create a digital map of the road network to support the safe operation of self-driving vehicles.

LGA housing and transport spokesperson Darren Rodwell said councils were ‘already leading the way’ in digitalising traffic regulation orders.

He added: ‘It is important these changes end a long overdue, outdated and expensive requirement for these orders, and other council notices, to be published in local newspapers.’

The Renters (Reform) Bill will be carried into next year. It now includes a digital ‘private rented property portal’ to bring together information and enable councils to ‘target enforcement where it is needed against a minority of unscrupulous landlords’.

Cllr Rodwell said the Bill would help improve standards and increase councils' ability to hold landlords to account, but raised concerns about the costs of new duties.

He also said the Government should consider publishing the evidence base for delaying the ban on section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.

The Government confirmed it would introduce legislation requiring certain premises to consider the terrorist risk and improve security in a Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill.

However, it said there would be a consultation to ‘ensure the Bill’s measures strike the right balance between public protection and avoiding undue burdens’.

The chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, Heather Kidd, welcomed the consultation and the Government’s decision to act on ‘concerns around ensuring the Bill is proportional’.

A Football Governance Bill will seek to ‘safeguard the future of football clubs for the benefit of communities and fans.’

The chair of the LGA’s culture, tourism and sport board, Liz Green, said many councils were already working with football clubs to protect their heritage and support people to get active, but ‘long-term sustainable funding’ was needed to support sport facilities.

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