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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 15:45 GMT
Councils given more legal powers
A binman emptying rubbish into a dustcart
The bill promises more power for councils across England
English councils will be able to bring in bylaws with fixed penalties without Whitehall approval, under a bill outlined in the Queen's Speech.

The proposed shake-up would also bring in more mayors and elected leaders.

Local inquiries on issues such as hospital closures and drug dealing could begin if there was public demand.

The government said the Local Government Bill would allow councils to "make a huge difference to the communities they serve".

'Streamlined'

Ministers propose setting up a single inspectorate for local government and to "cut red tape" by introducing a "streamlined performance framework".

The government has already promised that 1,200 national targets and indicators for local government would be cut to 200 indicators and 35 targets.

The Tories have accused ministers of failing to distinuish "between a failed regional agenda and a real local agenda", labelling the proposals "toothless".

The Liberal Democrats have said the plans are "rushed", without sufficient attention being given to local government finance.


QUEEN'S SPEECH 2006

KEY COVERAGE

ISSUE-BY-ISSUE COVERAGE
 

ANALYSIS AND FEATURES
Boxing gloves Gloves are off
Tony Blair denies using politics of fear... then warns Cameron he faces a thumping

BACKGROUND
Pomp and pageantry

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