Annal Nayyar – Headlines from the Queen’s Speech confirms end of Audit Commission

The formal abolition of the Audit Commission took a further step today with the announcement in the Queen’s Speech of the Local Audit and Accountability Bill.

Ministers claim the Bill could save the public purse up to £1.2bn and increase the accountability of councils and local authority quangos.

In addition to closing the Audit Commission and enforcing local arrangements for financial scrutiny, the Bill would also bring all local authority bodies in line with rules for triggering council tax referendums and give legal status to the local authority publicity code.

This would mean integrated transport authorities, the Environment Agency, National Parks Authorities, pensions authorities, and joint waste disposal authorities seeking to impose levies higher than 2% would require local approval.

Earlier this year communities secretary Eric Pickles branded such bodies as a ‘regime of local quangos’ acting as a ‘municipal autocracy’ with minimal public exposure.

‘This government is reining in the quango state, saving taxpayers’ money and giving more power to local people,’ said communities secretary Eric Pickles.

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