A new Act of Parliament which aims to give local communities greater say over government policy received broad political support at a meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council last night. Conservative Councillors joined with Labour and Liberal Democrats to endorse a motion which calls upon B&NES Council to take full advantage of the new powers which the Sustainable Communities Act provides.
Conservatives welcomed the Sustainable Communities Act as a “step forward in community empowerment”. The Act was introduced to Parliament last year as a Private Members Bill my Conservative MP Nick Hurd in response to growing feeling that local Councils and communities have less and less power over local issues and how tax-payers money is spent. Local Councils will be able to submit to proposals to government on what they see as the key priorities of their local residents and ask government to act on them. Councils will also have the power put forward their own local spending plans to replace government spending plans on services in the area.
Endorsing the motion at the Council meeting, Councillor Charles Gerrish (Conservative) said:
“I fully support the aims of the Sustainable Communities Act as I believe it has the potential to be a significant step forward in community empowerment. Engaging with communities and involving local people in decisions is essential to ensuring that we deliver on residents’ priorities. In recent times we have seen Post Offices close and community shops lost because of lack of government support. I hope that this Act will allow us greater say over government policy and I look forward to B&NES taking advantage of the powers within the Act.”