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The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 21 July 2015, having begun its passage through Parliament in the House of Lords. It received its Second Reading on 14 October 2015, and spent two days in Committee of the Whole House on 21 October 2015 and 17 November 2015. Its Report Stage, and Third Reading, are scheduled for 7 December 2015. A fresh copy of the Bill was produced after it completed Committee Stage.

The Library has previously produced a briefing paper on the Bill as it stood before Second Reading in the House of Commons.

The Government agreed to retain two amendments made in the House of Lords, despite having opposed them then: Clause 1, requiring an annual report to Parliament on devolution; and Clause 21, permitting local authorities which had agreed to a directly-elected mayor following a Government-mandated referendum to reverse that decision. However, the House agreed to remove three other Lords amendments opposed by the Government: one lowering the voting age for local government elections in England and Wales to 16; one requiring Government bills to include a statement of consistency with the principle of devolving power; and one preventing an elected mayor from being used as a condition for devolution of power in devolution deal negotiations.

Government amendments have also been agreed by the House of Commons covering a general power of competence for English national park authorities; creating the power to set up ‘sub-national transport bodies’, such as Transport for the North; and altering the terms on which combined authority boundaries can be changed.

Other key matters of debate around the Bill in the House of Commons included the governance of London; the introduction of directly-elected mayors of combined authorities, and the possibility of holding referendums in advance of their introduction; and the conditions under which the devolution of power over health authorities may proceed. The Government elected not to bring forward amendments to pass powers over Sunday trading hours to elected mayors.

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