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Written Statement - UK Localism Bill – Treatment of EU Infraction Fines

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Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities

The Localism Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 13th December 2010. The aim of the UK Government is to devolve greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods and give local communities control over housing and planning decisions.

The UK Government laid amendments to the Bill on 3 October to confer powers on the Welsh Ministers to pass on to Welsh public authorities EU infraction fines that are imposed on the UK Government by the Court of Justice of the European Union. These amendments mirror amendments laid by UK Government on 7 September in respect of UK Ministers to pass on fines to Welsh public authorities.

To date the UK Government has never been fined and these measures are intended to support the continuation of that position.

These amendments giving the Welsh Ministers powers to pass on fines to Welsh public authorities do not fall within the Assembly’s legislative competence and it is the view of the Welsh Government that it is appropriate for these powers to be conferred on the Welsh Ministers in this UK Bill as it is represents the most appropriate and proportionate legislative vehicle to enable these provisions to apply in Wales at the earliest opportunity.