S17 – SoI from the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Watch

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S17 – Statement of Intent from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government




Secretary of State The Rt. Hon. jamestg MP


This Government believes that our communities are more than just groups of people living together and require protection, expansion and deregulation in order to serve our political, social and economic interests. That these communities provide an opportunity for all people.

Protection of local retail trade
The British Retail Consortium reported in May 2016 that the number of high-street shoppers declined by 4.7% during April, with the worst case in Scotland where there was a 6.2% decrease. Vacancy rates also increased to 9.6% (source: Retail Week). This Government wants to tackle this directly through a bill which does not penalise or act as a disincentive to big business, but incentivise small businesses to open shops, encourage customers to use the high-street more than large commercial shopping centres and keep struggling shops open.

The first proposal is for all council owned car parks to not charge for the first hour of parking. Thus making the high-street more (or equally) attractive to the shopping centre or large supermarket. It is the best solution to the problem of parking charges, ensuring that trade flows throughout the week and not through cheaper or free periods of the day. The second proposal is to reduce business rates for small businesses by up to 10%, making it easier for local shopkeepers to balance the books and making investment in town centres more attractive. Approximately 92% of retail trade will benefit from this reduction. Any business which moves into a retail space that has been unoccupied for one year also receives 50% off their business rates for one year, to get local businesses back into stores.

Thirdly, a high street development fund is to be established—with £10 million will be unequally distributed to 20 high-streets with the highest vacancy and/or lowest footfall rates in the UK. This can be spent on the expansion of floorspace, car parking, modernisation, loans for businesses and repairs. This further increases the attractiveness of investing into the high-street by both big and small businesses alike. No big business will want to invest in a grotty retail space that has badly kept exteriors or/and unsafe parking, compared to the shiny and well-kept shopping centres. Loans can also make it easier for successful local businesses to upscale. Finally, a modest £2 million is to be ring fenced by central government and used to protect community shops, i.e. small shops in villages operated by villagers. They provide an essential service, especially for old people, and as the numbers are shrinking more needs to be done to ensure that a village has access to such a facility. Obviously money won't just be thrown at people, it is only for community shops which are at risk of closing up or a group of villagers need to make up the shortfall for opening up a shop (as it is very costly). This Government is committed to upholding one-nation conservative principles.

Repeal of regional directly-elected mayors
This Government believes that regional directly-elected mayors are a waste of taxpayers' money and do not increase the autonomy of regional governments. The current situation under the Local Government Act 2000 is that regional governments can opt for a Leader-Cabinet model or Mayor-Cabinet model. The latter is designed to make local government more accountable. This Government feels that this accountability is not required and will not be achieved, as turnout is highly unlikely to be more than 50%. The costs associated with elections, both in monetary and time, can be spent more efficiently on protecting vital local services such as the NHS, schools and emergency services. Regional governments can also be more efficient, with more time exercising their powers rather than campaigning.

Accelerating apprenticeships
This Government recognises the slow progress of housebuilding in the UK, with the lack of builders and high levels of regulation which stunts this growth. This Department, in conjunction with the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation and Department for Education, will work towards increasing the number of plumbers, electricians, carpenters and bricklayers through accelerated apprenticeships and schemes to get the unemployed back into work. This Department is currently looking at any regulation which is unneeded and is only adding to the problem.


Speaker's Note
The following sections do not require primary legislation:
* Increased number of accelerated apprenticeships
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Quamquam123
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@jamestg - I am very impressed with this. The first decent item from the Government so far.
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Aph
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Other than the repeal of mayors I generally support this.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Aph)
Other than the repeal of mayors I generally support this.
Why? Why the **** does East Anglia need an elected Mayor, it wasn't even voted on in a regional referendum like most directly elected mayors, it's simply being imposed with basically all the councils saying "**** off this is stupid"

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(Original post by Quamquam123)
@jamestg - I am very impressed with this. The first decent item from the Government so far.
Cracking! However admittedly my dept. isn't exactly controversial

Will have to disagree with the latter
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Why? Why the **** does East Anglia need an elected Mayor, it wasn't even voted on in a regional referendum like most directly elected mayors, it's simply being imposed with basically all the councils saying "**** off this is stupid"

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See those are the cases when I don't agree with it... But mayors who came into being with elections or the councils voting to accept them like the new south Gloucestershire et al. Metro mayor.
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Quamquam123
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(Original post by jamestg)
Cracking! However admittedly my dept. isn't exactly controversial

Will have to disagree with the latter
I had a feeling you might disagree with that comment.
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Hazzer1998
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A very impressive SOI from the government. I see no reason to oppose any of the Policies in the statement of intent
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(Original post by Aph)
See those are the cases when I don't agree with it... But mayors who came into being with elections or the councils voting to accept them like the new south Gloucestershire et al. Metro mayor.
The point is, there is no need for accountability. ASFAIK the only real extra power an elected mayor has is to appoint councillors to a cabinet. And the powers that the 'head of the cabinet' had before were still rather limited. Even the London mayor has more influence than real political power. I'd much rather more efficient local government in the few menial tasks they have to complete, than have periods of time where taxpayers' money and councillors' time is wasted on campaigning and electoral administration.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Aph)
See those are the cases when I don't agree with it... But mayors who came into being with elections or the councils voting to accept them like the new south Gloucestershire et al. Metro mayor.
So you're opposing something you agree with? Simple fact of the matter is in the cases we're removing nobody really wants them creating, they're simply a waste of money that hair creates more useless politicians, just like PCCs

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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
So you're opposing something you agree with? Simple fact of the matter is in the cases we're removing nobody really wants them creating, they're simply a waste of money that hair creates more useless politicians, just like PCCs

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Aye, each counter (at least in my region) got paid £160 in the PCC election for a few hours' work. Obviously I benefited, but it was pretty ridiculous.
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
So you're opposing something you agree with? Simple fact of the matter is in the cases we're removing nobody really wants them creating, they're simply a waste of money that hair creates more useless politicians, just like PCCs

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:rolleyes: someone needs to learn to read.
I approve of mayors when a referendum or local councils vote in favour of them. That is exactly what I said the first time and that is my position. When they are forced upon people who don't want them they shouldn't exist.
(Original post by jamestg)
The point is, there is no need for accountability. ASFAIK the only real extra power an elected mayor has is to appoint councillors to a cabinet. And the powers that the 'head of the cabinet' had before were still rather limited. Even the London mayor has more influence than real political power. I'd much rather more efficient local government in the few menial tasks they have to complete, than have periods of time where taxpayers' money and councillors' time is wasted on campaigning and electoral administration.
With mayors tend to come devolution deals to the areas. The actual power the mayor has is limited but then again you could say that about the Prime Minister who can't really do much but shuffle people around and influence policy.
Elected mayors who bring more powers to local government and generally more money from devolution deals should be encouraged.
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(Original post by hazzer1998)
A very impressive SOI from the government. I see no reason to oppose any of the Policies in the statement of intent
Cheers Hazzer!
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Aph)
:rolleyes: someone needs to learn to read.
I approve of mayors when a referendum or local councils vote in favour of them. That is exactly what I said the first time and that is my position. When they are forced upon people who don't want them they shouldn't exist.

With mayors tend to come devolution deals to the areas. The actual power the mayor has is limited but then again you could say that about the Prime Minister who can't really do much but shuffle people around and influence policy.
Elected mayors who bring more powers to local government and generally more money from devolution deals should be encouraged.
So if you agree with what is being done then what was the point in disagreeing with it?

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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
So if you agree with what is being done then what was the point in disagreeing with it?

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I don't agree because not all mayors should go :rolleyes:
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(Original post by Quamquam123)
@jamestg - I am very impressed with this. The first decent item from the Government so far.
I fail to see the source of your self-confidence but at least you're not completely biased, yay!
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TheDefiniteArticle
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Nay. The provision of subsidies to the private sector is something both the left and the right should be against - the left because it amounts to a direct use of tax revenues on private profits, and the right because it makes a joke of the 'efficient' free market. The fetishisation of small businesses is silly - if they cannot compete without subsidy, that either means they are less efficient and should be allowed to fail, or it means that barriers to entry are created by larger firms within the market, which ought to be regulated rather than tackled by literally just throwing money at the problem. This is simply economically incoherent, and borders on morally repugnant.
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(Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
Nay. The provision of subsidies to the private sector is something both the left and the right should be against - the left because it amounts to a direct use of tax revenues on private profits, and the right because it makes a joke of the 'efficient' free market. The fetishisation of small businesses is silly - if they cannot compete without subsidy, that either means they are less efficient and should be allowed to fail, or it means that barriers to entry are created by larger firms within the market, which ought to be regulated rather than tackled by literally just throwing money at the problem. This is simply economically incoherent, and borders on morally repugnant.
Agreed

Ditto

+1

I dislike this SOI. You can't revive the highstreet, it's doomed to fail.
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(Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
Nay. The provision of subsidies to the private sector is something both the left and the right should be against - the left because it amounts to a direct use of tax revenues on private profits, and the right because it makes a joke of the 'efficient' free market. The fetishisation of small businesses is silly - if they cannot compete without subsidy, that either means they are less efficient and should be allowed to fail, or it means that barriers to entry are created by larger firms within the market, which ought to be regulated rather than tackled by literally just throwing money at the problem. This is simply economically incoherent, and borders on morally repugnant.
Do you seriously think small business would thrive under regulation? Of course not. Only the bigger businesses can survive under such conditions. Why are you, a socialist, trying to endorse such a situation? This isn't exactly throwing money at the problem - there are four specific ways local retail trade can be boosted. It's not handing out large cheques to the large supermarket chains or department stores.

What has happened to the investment that the left support in these economic conditions? Do you expect local trade merely to close up - contributing to unemployment, loss of consumer convenience and decline of local economies and communities?
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jamestg
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(Original post by SoggyCabbages)
You can't revive the highstreet, it's doomed to fail.
What a sad statement to hear. I guess the same can be said for British Steel then...
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