By Tim Montgomerie
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Yesterday the Localism Bill gained royal assent and the Department of Communities and Local Government issued a press release to remind us of what it represents.
Conmmenting Eric Pickles said:
“Today marks the beginning of an historic shift of power from Whitehall to every community to take back control of their lives. The Localism Act pulls down the Whitehall barricades so it will no longer call the shots over communities - bug bears like housing targets and bin taxes are gone. For too long, local people were held back and ignored because Whitehall thought it knew best. That is changing for good. Councils have their General Power of Competence and residents have a real power over decisions like council tax, town hall pay, planning, community buildings or local services."
Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark added:
"For the best part of a hundred years Parliament has been passing laws that increase the Government's powers at the expense of people and communities. This historic Act begins to reverse a hundred years of centralisation. It puts power into the hands of citizens, community groups and local councils. It breaks the monopoly on all new policy initiatives having to come from Whitehall by giving a new right of initiative to people in their local areas. The Localism Act is not the end of the journey towards a more permissive, flexible Britain but it makes a great stride in a direction that the Government will continue to travel."