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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 15:53 GMT
London's mayor given more powers
London mayor Ken Livingstone
Mr Livingstone was praised for the introducing congestion charging
More powers are to be given to the mayor of London in a bill flagged in the Queen's speech.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) Bill aims to bolster the mayor's leadership in order to "meet future challenges".

The challenges include staging the 2012 Olympic Games, providing more homes for Londoners and combating climate change.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the GLA had brought about significant development such as congestion charging.

London mayor Ken Livingstone said: "The announcement within the Queen's Speech will lead to a major devolution of planning, housing and skills powers from government to London's city-wide government.

'Communities benefit'

"London needs more affordable housing, better skills training and action to tackle climate change and the government's Queen's Speech proposals will help deliver this."

Angie Bray, leader of the London Assembly Conservative group, said the bill would make the mayor more autocratic.

She said it provided few extra powers to the London Assembly, which scrutinises the what the mayor does.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Bill also announced in the Queen's Speech, aims to reduce the amount of "top-down" control from Westminster, and strengthen leadership systems within councils.

It will feature moves to devolve powers for making by-laws to local authorities, and enable their enforcement through greater use of fixed penalty notices.

There will also be provisions intended to cut red tape, create a single inspectorate for local government, and increase community involvement in decisions.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the Local Government Bill would "ensure all communities benefit from strong, accountable and visible leadership".

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