§ Lorna Fitzsimons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he intends to respond to the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Local Government (Organisation and Standards) Bill; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Armstrong
We intend shortly to put before the House a full response to the Committee's Report.
The Government welcome the Committee's scrutiny of the draft Bill, and have considered very carefully all their conclusions and recommendations.
Yesterday we introduced in another place the Local Government Bill which contains with certain amendments the provisions of the draft bill. As stated in the Explanatory Notes to the Bill, the objectives of those provisions are to achieve greater efficiency, transparency and accountability of local authorities.
In their Report the Committee welcomed those objectives. The Committee concluded that the extent to which any eventual legislation would fulfil those objectives would largely depend on how far the Government were prepared to accept their findings.
Our response will demonstrate that we are committed to adopt an approach which will ensure that those objectives are fulfilled to the greatest possible extent. We will bring forward as early as possible in the passage of the Bill such amendments as are necessary to give full effect to our response.