Debates between Lord Watts and Baroness Swinburne during the 2019-2024 Parliament

Tees Valley Combined Authority: Best Value Notice

Debate between Lord Watts and Baroness Swinburne
Thursday 2nd May 2024

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, if I had acted in the same way when I was a local authority leader, I would have been surcharged. Is it not about time that the mayor had the same sort of qualification, that he has to deal with his public money in the same way as his own money, and he should have fiduciary duty like local authority leaders have?

Baroness Swinburne Portrait Baroness Swinburne (Con)
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There is a strengthened governance code for all the combined mayoral authorities and all these types of devolved government. I am sure that, as we progress with this, we will see those governance systems start to work more efficiently and effectively.

Teesworks Project: Audit

Debate between Lord Watts and Baroness Swinburne
Wednesday 20th March 2024

(4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Swinburne Portrait Baroness Swinburne (Con)
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Again, I can only give an assurance that this will not be waiting for six months. A number of these actions are required immediately and are therefore ongoing. We will be monitoring it both centrally and locally.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, many years ago when I was leader of a council, if I had acted in this way, I would have faced a surcharge. What sanctions are open against the mayor for the activities he has been involved in?

Baroness Swinburne Portrait Baroness Swinburne (Con)
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I need to be very clear that the review did not find any wrongdoing. Some governance issues need to be fixed; they are being fixed. On whether commissioners needed to be put in because there was wrongdoing, that is not the case in this instance. Therefore, time has being given to the combined authority to get its house in order. I am sure, as I have been assured, that it is doing so right now.

Capital Projects: Spending

Debate between Lord Watts and Baroness Swinburne
Thursday 26th October 2023

(9 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Swinburne Portrait Baroness Swinburne (Con)
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The Government remain committed to fully funding and delivering our programmes to level up communities across the United Kingdom, including the full £11.5 billion budget for the affordable homes programme. In line with usual practice, some of the department’s budgets in 2022-23 were reprofiled into future years to reflect latest delivery plans. While all capital programmes have their own specific causes for delays, the challenging economic environment, including the housing market, inflationary pressures and supply-chain constraints, all contributed to the delivery delays last year. However, we remain fully committed to our housing targets.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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Is it not the case that the Government’s announcements on levelling-up funds that will be spent refer to spending after the next general election, so there is no real commitment to new money for the north, as the Government have promised?

Baroness Swinburne Portrait Baroness Swinburne (Con)
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Bear with me on the length of my reply to this one, because I think it deserves it. On the contrary, we have already announced and begun to implement many of these projects, including 12 investment zones across the United Kingdom, the rollout of levelling-up partnerships, a further £161 million directly to mayoral combined authorities for 32 regeneration projects in city regions, 30 projects across the UK which will receive funds from the community ownership fund, grants for 16 regeneration projects, and two new trail-blazer devolution deals with direct money going to mayors of the West Midlands and Greater Manchester. Most recently, the Prime Minister has unveiled a further 55 towns that will benefit from a long-term £1.1 billion levelling-up investment. This pace and ambition demonstrate that, whatever the mechanics of government, we are delivering, and will deliver, on our levelling-up priorities.