Ellie Ames 07 November 2023

‘Nothing for local government’ in King’s Speech

‘Nothing for local government’ in King’s Speech image

Councils have expressed disappointment that the King’s Speech offered no commitment to improving local government finances or furthering devolution.

The chair of the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities (SIGOMA), Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, said: ‘Today’s King’s Speech contained nothing for local government at a time when council finances are at breaking point, and local authorities are crying out for the devolved powers and funding to deliver crucial housing, transport, and net zero projects essential to "levelling up".

‘We are witnessing a record number of local authorities facing S114 - putting vital services at risk in dozens of councils.

‘Our members were desperate for some answers and assurances in today's announcement.

‘It is now essential that the Government use the upcoming Autumn Statement to stabilise council finances – a vital last opportunity to help support our members.’

Among the legislation announced today was a Tobacco and Vapes Bill to restrict the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children and to ensure that children currently aged fourteen or younger are never legally unable to buy cigarettes.

The Renters (Reform) Bill will be carried into next year, although the Government has said the long-anticipated ban on ‘no-fault’ section 21 evictions will be delayed ‘until stronger possession grounds and a new court process is in place’.

There was no mention of restricting homeless people’s use of tents but the Government said it would tackle ‘persistent, nuisance, and organised begging’.

King Charles announced that a bill would be introduced ‘to deal with the scourge of unlicensed pedicabs in London.’

Westminster City Council, which has been campaigning on the issue, welcomed the news but said it was disappointed that the Government did not deliver on promises to legislate on e-bikes and scooters.

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