Report on the Local Government (Finance) Bill
Northern Ireland Assembly Report NIA 03/10/11R, Second Report of Session 2010-2011 - Report Together with the Minutes of Proceedings, Minutes of Evidence and Written Submissions Relating to the Report
- Northern Ireland Assembly - Committee for the Environment
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'Report on the Local Government (Finance) Bill (NIA 03/10/11R details the Committee for the Environment's consideration of the 'Local Government (Finance) Bill'.
Upon identifying the key issues in the Bill the Committee made five recommendations:
(i) The Committee has questioned the robustness of the local government audit process and therefore proposes to recommend that in conjunction with the implementation of this Bill, the audit process should be reviewed and if necessary, strengthened.
(ii) Following advice from the Assembly's Examiner of Statutory Rules, the Committee recommends an amendment to Clause 24(9) of the Bill which provides an order-making power deals with appointment of a receiver in respect of unpaid council borrowings of more than £10,000.
The Committee wishes to amend this Clause in order that any amendment to the amount of £10,000 at which a receiver may be appointed, would be subject to draft affirmative procedure rather than negative resolution as contained within the Bill.
(iii) Two issues were raised in relation to the rates support grant. The opinion was held by some respondents that the formula for grant allocation would need to be immediately reviewed in the event of implementation of the Review of Public Administration to ensure that it continues to meet its objectives. The Department advised that existing arrangements must remain until a timetable for local government reform is confirmed.
(iv) Also, some respondents expressed concerns about the future resourcing of grants. It was highlighted that the rates support grant (formerly the resources grant) provided additional resources to councils whose wealth falls below the Northern Ireland average, so cuts to this grant will reduce resources in those areas even further, potentially resulting in increases to rates. The in-year cuts implemented in July 2010 which impacted heavily on these councils with lower wealth levels have already presented significant budgeting issues. The Committee recommends an amendment to Clause 27 to prevent in-year cuts to the rates support grant.
(v) The Committee recommends that Clauses 32 and 39 remove language referring to 'chairman' and 'vicechairman' as the Northern Ireland Assembly are committed to gender-neutral language. Therefore these references should be amended to 'chairperson' and 'vice-chairperson' accordingly.
|Format||Paperback||Published||13 Dec 2010|
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