Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Standards Board to be abolished

I served with Andrew Stunell on Cheshire County Council where his straight forward approach to issues was appreciated on all sides-altho I have to say that I've never thought of him as a 'pin up boy' as the Wellingborough Tory MP seems to suggest. It is good to find that he is still making himself useful as this exchange recorded in Hansard shows:


Standards Board for England

6. Dr John Pugh (Southport) (LD): What steps he plans to take to abolish the Standards Board for England. [1540]

(Andrew expresses his view before he is made a Minister)


14. Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): What steps he plans to take to abolish the Standards Board for England. [1548]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Andrew Stunell):We shall be abolishing the Standards Board for England. The necessary legislation will be in our localism Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech.
Dr Pugh: I thank the Minister for that answer and welcome him to his position. He brings enormous experience of local government to the post.
We all agree that £10 million could be better spent to better effect, but what rights of appeal will there be if the local process goes wrong or goes amiss, as it sometimes does?
Andrew Stunell: I thank my hon. Friend for his welcome. He is right that a safety net is needed, and we are in discussion with our local government colleagues about the most appropriate way of moving forward.
Mr Bone: Is the Minister aware that he is going to become the pin-up boy for every councillor in the country, and receive an enormous amount of fan mail? Will he ensure that the abolition takes place as soon as possible?
Andrew Stunell: I would like to claim that, for my Liberal Democrat colleagues, I already was, but I am happy to be so for others as well.
Around the country, there are councillors of every political persuasion deeply frustrated by the fact that the Standards Board remains a burden and a threat to them. It costs £7.8 million, but it dealt with only 1,000 real complaints last year, which is £7,800 per complaint. The sooner we get rid of it, the better. That will be done on a statutory basis through the decentralisation and localism Bill.

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