Charities ask peers to oppose changes to Localism Bill

Umbrella and community bodies including Acevo and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations move to stop the bill being 'watered down'

House of Lords
House of Lords

A group of charities has written to members of the House of Lords asking them to oppose amendments to the Localism Bill that they claim would "fundamentally undermine" the legislation.

They include the chief executives body Acevo, the local infrastructure organisation Navca, and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and the community bodies Urban Forum and Locality,

The group have signed briefings that ask peers to resist proposed changes to the bill’s ‘right to buy’ and ‘right to challenge’ proposals. The proposals offer charities, community groups and local citizens the chance to bid to take over the running of local assets, and to bid to deliver public services.

The briefings warn that some members of the House of Lords discussed the legislation in a "negative tone" and attempted to water down many of its proposals when they first discussed it earlier this year.

The documents, which ask peers to resist changes to the legislation, have been published before a House of Lords debate on the bill at its report stage on 5 September.

One of the main points of contention is the six-month moratorium on the sale of land, which the bill allows community organisations to request so that they can prepare a bid to take over a local asset.

Third Sector reported in June that the Country Land and Business Association, which represents owners of rural land, said this should be reduced to three months.

The briefing says: "The reduction of the moratorium period to three months would fundamentally undermine the legislation." It acknowledges the six-month period might present an inconvenience, but says this is "of a relatively minor nature, and should be balanced against the potential benefits for the community."

The briefings also provide background information on the proposals in the bill. They can be read here.

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