Local Government Act 1985

The Local Government Act 1985 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Its main effect was to abolish the six county councils of the metropolitan counties that had been set up in 1974, 11 years earlier, by the Local Government Act 1972, along with the Greater London Council that had been established in 1965. In their place many single purpose authorities known collectively as 'joint authorities' were established for fire service, police and passenger transport. An ad hoc education authority was established for Inner London and a planning authority for Greater London. The legislation permitted councils to form 'joint arrangements' for waste disposal and other services that they wished to provide together. Time-limited residuary bodies were created to dispose of the assets of the former authorities.

Local Government Act 1985
Long titleAn Act to abolish the Greater London Council and the metropolitan county councils; to transfer their functions to the local authorities in their areas and, in some cases, to other bodies; and to provide for other matters consequential on, or connected with, the abolition of those councils.
Citation1985 c.51
Territorial extentEngland and Wales
Dates
Royal assent16 July 1985
Commencement1 April 1986
Status: Unknown
Text of statute as originally enacted
EnglandSubdivisions1986
Principal local authorities in England after the passing of the act

Background

Following the victory of the Conservative Party at the 1979 general election, Margaret Thatcher's government were involved in a series of high-profile disputes with the GLC and Metropolitan County Councils. All of the authorities were controlled by, or came under the control of the opposition Labour Party during Thatcher's first term. The Conservative manifesto for the 1983 general election pledged their abolition, describing the councils as "a wasteful and unnecessary tier of government".[1] Having won a landslide victory in the 1983 General Election, the government published a white paper in October of that year, Streamlining the cities. Its proposals formed the basis of the Local Government Bill.[2]

Provisions

The core provision, section 1, stated that "the Greater London Council; and the metropolitan county councils" shall cease to exist. It came into effect on 1 April 1986, with some powers being devolved to the metropolitan boroughs themselves and London boroughs and others to joint authorities (such as for fire or police purposes) consisting of members of each of the metropolitan district councils within each county. At the time of the Act, one third of the population of England were living in Greater London and the metropolitan counties.[3]

Time-limited residuary bodies were created to handle the disposal of the councils' assets. Part III of the Act also set up the Inner London Education Authority, which had previously been a committee of the GLC responsible for education in Inner London, as a directly elected body. This was to remain in existence for only three years.

The Local Government Act 1972 allowed councils to voluntarily form joint committees to provide services together and the Local Government Act 1985 extended this principle by directing local authorities to form some shared arrangements whilst permitting them to form others as they wished.

Local authorities abolished by Part I

Six metropolitan county councils were abolished and the local authority of Greater London.

Joint committees established by Part II

  • Joint planning committee for Greater London
  • Greater Manchester Trading Standards Joint Committee
  • Merseyside County Trading Standards Joint Committee
  • South Yorkshire Trading Standards Joint Committee
  • Tyne and Wear Trading Standards Joint Committee
  • West Midlands Trading Standards Joint Committee
  • West Yorkshire Trading Standards Joint Committee

Joint arrangements established by Part II

Ad hoc authorities established by Part III

Note: The outer London borough councils and metropolitan district councils were already education authorities.

Joint authorities established by Part IV

A number of single purpose authorities were established, collectively known as joint authorities in the legislation.

Fire and civil defence authorities
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Civil Defence Authority
  • London Fire and Civil Defence Authority
  • Merseyside Fire and Civil Defence Authority
  • South Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority
  • Tyne and Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority
  • West Midlands Fire and Civil Defence Authority
  • West Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority
Passenger transport authorities
  • Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority
  • Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority
  • South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority
  • Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority
  • West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority
  • West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority

Note: London Regional Transport was established separately by the London Regional Transport Act 1984.

Police authorities
  • Greater Manchester Police Authority
  • Merseyside Police Authority
  • Northumbria Police Authority
  • South Yorkshire Police Authority
  • West Midlands Police Authority
  • West Yorkshire Police Authority

Note: The Metropolitan Police was under the control of the Home Office and unaffected by the legislation.

Ad hoc bodies established by Part V

  • London Boroughs Grants Committee

Residuary bodies established by Part VII

  • Greater Manchester Residuary Body
  • London Residuary Body
  • Merseyside Residuary Body
  • South Yorkshire Residuary Body
  • Tyne and Wear Residuary Body
  • West Midlands Residuary Body
  • West Yorkshire Residuary Body

Ad hoc bodies established by Part IX

  • London Research Centre

References

  1. ^ Colin Turpin and Adam Tomkins (2007). British Government and the Constitution: Text and Materials. Cambridge University Press. pp. 248–249. ISBN 9780521690294.
  2. ^ "Streamlining the Cities". Hansard 1803–2005. Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  3. ^ Hampton, W., Local Government and Urban Politics, (1991)

Bibliography

  • Local Government Act 1985, 1985 c. 51
1981 Greater Manchester County Council election

Local elections to Greater Manchester County Council, a Metropolitan County Council encompassing Greater Manchester, were held on 7 May 1981, resulting in large swings to Labour, giving them control of the council.

This would be the last election to the Greater Manchester County Council, with metropolitan county councils being scrapped on 31 March 1986 under the Local Government Act 1985 by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. The councils' abolition came following several high-profile clashes between mostly Labour metropolitan county councils and the Conservative government over issues including overspending and high rates charging.

1981 West Midlands County Council election

Local elections to the West Midlands County Council, a Metropolitan County Council encompassing the West Midlands, were held on 7 May 1981, resulting in large swings to Labour, giving them control of the council.

This was the last election to the West Midlands County Council, after metropolitan county councils were scrapped on 31 March 1986 under the Local Government Act 1985 by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. The councils' abolition followed several high profile clashes between mostly Labour metropolitan county councils and the Conservative government over issues, including spending and rates charges.

Association of Greater Manchester Authorities

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) is the local government association for Greater Manchester, a metropolitan county in North West England. It was established in 1986 as a voluntary organisation to represent the ten district councils of Greater Manchester after the Greater Manchester County Council was abolished. AGMA develops policy, lobbies government and others, and runs a range of services designed to make strategic and tangible advances in the standard of living across Greater Manchester. Its Policy and Research Unit is based in Wigan, and its European Union office in Brussels, Belgium.The Local Government Act 1985, which abolished the metropolitan county councils of England, delegated the powers of the Greater Manchester County Council to the ten bottom-tier metropolitan district councils, but also recognised that some functions—such as public transport, fire and rescue, police, and waste disposal—required co-ordination at a strategic, metropolitan level. In this capacity, AGMA directs the strategic public and social services of Greater Manchester on behalf of the boroughs, such as the Greater Manchester County Record Office, which exhibits elements of the local history of Greater Manchester.

The Executive Board of AGMA is composed of representatives from Greater Manchester's ten metropolitan boroughs, and the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority, the Greater Manchester Police Authority, the Greater Manchester Fire and Civil Defence Authority and the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, who are all members by subscription. The local authorities of Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen, Cheshire East and Warrington are associate members with representation at AGMA debates and meetings, but are excluded from voting processes.AGMA makes representations on behalf of Greater Manchester to the government of the United Kingdom, the North West Development Agency, the European Union, business and other bodies, lobbying for investment and funding. AGMA actively pursued a formal and statutory government structure for Greater Manchester throughout the 2000s, and made a successful bid to the UK's central government to constitute Greater Manchester as a Statutory City Region. Although not abolished, AGMA was effectively superseded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the first authority of its kind in the United Kingdom, on 1 April 2011.

City of Leeds

The City of Leeds ( ) is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England, governed by Leeds City Council, with the status of a city and metropolitan borough. The metropolitan district includes the administrative centre Leeds and the ten towns of Farsley, Garforth, Guiseley, Horsforth, Morley, Otley, Pudsey, Rothwell, Wetherby and Yeadon. It has a population of 789,194 (mid-2018 est.), making it technically the second largest city in England by population behind Birmingham; it is also the second largest metropolitan district by area behind Doncaster.

The current city boundaries were set on 1 April 1974 by the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, as part a reform of local government in England. The city is a merger of eleven former local government districts; the unitary City and County Borough of Leeds combined with the municipal boroughs of Morley and Pudsey, the urban districts of Aireborough, Garforth, Horsforth, Otley and Rothwell, and parts of the rural districts of Tadcaster, Wharfedale and Wetherby from the West Riding of Yorkshire.

For its first 12 years the city had a two-tier system of local government; Leeds City Council shared power with the West Yorkshire County Council. Since the Local Government Act 1985 Leeds City Council has effectively been a unitary authority, serving as the sole executive, deliberative and legislative body responsible for local policy, setting council tax, and allocating budget in the city, and is a member of the Leeds City Region Partnership. The City of Leeds is divided into 31 civil parishes and a single unparished area.

Coat of arms of Greater Manchester

The Coat of Arms of Greater Manchester was granted to the Greater Manchester County Council upon its formation in 1974 by the College of Arms. The county council was abolished as a consequence of the Local Government Act 1985 which rendered the arms as being no longer officially in use.

Coat of arms of West Yorkshire

The Coat of arms of West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council was granted in 1975 to the new Metropolitan county council created in the previous year. The County Council was abolished in 1986 under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1985 and consequently the arms are no longer used.

Greater London Council

The Greater London Council (GLC) was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986. It replaced the earlier London County Council (LCC) which had covered a much smaller area. The GLC was dissolved in 1986 by the Local Government Act 1985 and its powers were devolved to the London boroughs and other entities. A new administrative body, known as the Greater London Authority (GLA), was established in 2000.

Greater Manchester County Council

The Greater Manchester County Council (GMCC) was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater Manchester from 1974 to 1986. A strategic authority, with responsibilities for public transport, planning, emergency services and waste disposal, it was composed of 106 members drawn from the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester. The Greater Manchester County Council shared power with ten lower-tier district councils, each of which directed local matters. It was also known as the Greater Manchester Council (GMC) and the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County Council (GMMCC).Established with reference to the Local Government Act 1972, elections in 1973 brought about the county council's launch as a shadow authority, several months before Greater Manchester (its zone of influence) was officially created on 1 April 1974. The Greater Manchester County Council operated from its County Hall headquarters on Portland Street in central Manchester, until it was abolished 31 March 1986, following the Local Government Act 1985. Its powers were passed to the ten district councils of Greater Manchester, which had shared power with the GMCC. Some powers of the county council were restored when the district councils delegated strategic responsibilities (such as emergency services and public transport) to the county-wide Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and joint boards.

Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority

The Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) is England’s largest Waste Disposal Authority, responsible for the management and disposal of municipal waste from Greater Manchester. It deals with 1.1 million tonnes of waste produced each year, from approximately 1 million households and population of over 2.27 million in the metropolitan districts of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford — though part of Greater Manchester, the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan administers its own waste disposal operations, however they are represented on the authority for administration purposes. The waste comes primarily from household waste collections and 20 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) provided and serviced by the GMWDA. It handles around 4% of the nation's municipal waste.The GMWDA was created under the Local Government Act 1985 to carry out the waste management functions and duties of the Greater Manchester County Council after its abolition in 1986. The Authority Membership is composed of councillors from across Greater Manchester. Its headquarters are in Oldham. The GMWDA also operates the Recycle for Greater Manchester organisation, its initiatives and website. Following the creation of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in 2011, GMWDA has been an integral part of a pilot local government strategy to demonstrate competence in tackling climate change, energy, water, green infrastructure, transport, waste and other issues affecting the Greater Manchester Statutory City Region.

Local government in the Isle of Man

Local government (Manx: gurneilys ynnydagh) in the Isle of Man was formerly based on six sheadings, which were divided into seventeen parishes (today referred to as "ancient parishes"). The island is today divided for local government purposes into town districts, village districts, and parish districts, as follows:

Four town districts: Douglas (borough), Castletown, Peel and Ramsey

Four village districts: Onchan, Michael, Port Erin and Port St Mary

Fourteen parish districts: Andreas, Arbory, Ballaugh, Braddan, Bride, Garff, German, Jurby, Lezayre, Malew, Marown, Patrick, Rushen, Santon

London Government Act 1963

The London Government Act 1963 (c. 33) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which recognised officially the conurbation known as Greater London and created a new local government structure for the capital. The Act significantly reduced the number of local government districts in the area, resulting in local authorities responsible for larger areas and populations. The upper tier of local government was reformed to cover the whole of the Greater London area and with a more strategic role; and the split of functions between upper and lower tiers was recast. The Act classified the boroughs into inner and outer London groups. The City of London and its corporation were essentially unreformed by the legislation. Subsequent amendments to the Act have significantly amended the upper tier arrangements, with the Greater London Council abolished in 1986, and the Greater London Authority introduced in 2000. As of 2016, the London boroughs are more or less identical to those created in 1965, although with some enhanced powers over services such as waste management and education.

Merseyside County Council

The Merseyside County Council (MCC) was, from 1974 to 1986, the upper-tier administrative body for Merseyside, a metropolitan county in North West England.

MCC existed for a total of twelve years. It was established on 1 April 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. However, along with five other metropolitan county councils and the Greater London Council it was abolished on 31 March 1986 by the Local Government Act 1985.

MCC was a strategic authority running regional services such as transport, strategic planning, emergency services and waste disposal. Elections were held to the council in 1973, 1977 and 1981. Elections were due to be held in 1985 but these were cancelled due to the council's abolition.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service covering the county of Merseyside in north-west England and is the statutory Fire and Rescue Authority responsible for all 999 fire brigade calls in Sefton, Knowsley, St. Helens, Liverpool and Wirral.

Metropolitan borough

A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district in England, and is a subdivision of a metropolitan county. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, metropolitan boroughs are defined in English law as metropolitan districts. However, all of them have been granted or regranted royal charters to give them borough status (as well as, in some cases, city status). Metropolitan boroughs have been effectively unitary authority areas since the abolition of the metropolitan county councils by the Local Government Act 1985. However, metropolitan boroughs pool much of their authority in joint boards and other arrangements that cover whole metropolitan counties, such as combined authorities.

Passenger transport executive

In the United Kingdom, passenger transport executives (PTEs) are local government bodies which are responsible for public transport within large urban areas. They are accountable to bodies called integrated transport authorities (ITAs), or where they have been formed, to combined authorities. The PTEs joined together to form the Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG) of which Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Transport for London were both associate members. In 2016 it became the Urban Transport Group.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council was created in 1974 to administer the newly formed Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands county of England.

The council offices are located at the Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury town centre, which opened in 1989.Sandwell is divided into 24 Wards and is represented by 72 ward councillors. Elections to the council take place in three out of every four years, with one-third of the seats being contested at each election.

Since the Local Government Act 1985, Sandwell Council has effectively been a unitary authority, serving as the sole executive, deliberative, and legislative body responsible for local policy, setting council tax, and allocating budget in the district; although public transport, fire and police services, and the local government pension fund (West Midlands Pension Fund) are jointly run by the seven metropolitan boroughs of the West Midlands county.

Streamlining the cities

Streamlining the cities: Government proposals for reorganising local government in Greater London and the Metropolitan counties was a government white paper issued in 1983, by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher which led to the abolition of the Greater London Council (GLC) and the metropolitan county councils (MCCs).

The white paper argued that most local services in Greater London and in the six metropolitan counties, were provided by the London boroughs, and by the Metropolitan district councils. Specifically, GLC and the MCCs only provided 16% and 26% of services in their areas respectively - however the shire county councils provided 87% of services in their areas. The white paper concluded therefore, that the latter's existence could be justified, whereas the GLC and the MCCs could not. It was also felt that the GLC and the MCCs were profligate. The white paper concluded that the GLC and the MCCs should be abolished and replaced by a system of joint boards, to take over some of the county council's functions. The white paper's proposals were largely implemented in the Local Government Act 1985.

West Midlands County Council

The West Midlands County Council (WMCC) was, from 1974 to 1986, the upper-tier administrative body for the West Midlands county, a metropolitan county in England.

The WMCC existed for a total of twelve years. It was established on 1 April 1974, by the Local Government Act 1972 and was abolished on 31 March 1986. It was abolished along with five other metropolitan county councils and the Greater London Council by the government of Margaret Thatcher by the Local Government Act 1985.

The WMCC was a strategic authority running regional services such as transport, emergency services, and strategic planning. Elections were held to the council in 1973, 1977 and 1981. Elections were due to be held in 1985 but were cancelled due to the council's impending abolition.

The Labour Party controlled the council from 1974–77, with the Conservatives controlling it 1977–81. It reverted to Labour control for the last term 1981–86.

When it existed the council's headquarters (County Hall) were based at Lancaster Circus in central Birmingham, in a building that is now occupied, but not as its headquarters, by Birmingham City Council.

Upon its abolition, most of the functions of the council such as planning were devolved to the metropolitan district councils of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton. Some of its functions were taken over by joint-boards and continued to be run on a county-wide basis, these included policing, fire and rescue and public transport.

Its assets were split between the West Midlands Residuary Body and the West Midlands boroughs councils.

West Yorkshire County Council

West Yorkshire County Council (WYCC) — also known as West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council (WYMCC) — was the top-tier local government administrative body for West Yorkshire from 1974 to 1986. A strategic authority, with responsibilities for public transport, planning, emergency services and waste disposal, it was composed of 88 members drawn from the five metropolitan boroughs of West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire County Council shared power with five lower-tier district councils, each of which directed local matters.

Established with reference to the Local Government Act 1972, elections in 1973 brought about the county council's launch as a shadow authority, several months before West Yorkshire (its zone of influence) was officially created on 1 April 1974. The West Yorkshire County Council operated from County Hall, Wakefield, until it was abolished 31 March 1986, following the Local Government Act 1985. Its powers were passed to the five district councils of West Yorkshire (which had shared power with WYCC): City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Calderdale Council, Kirklees Council, Leeds City Council and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Some powers of the county council were restored when the district councils delegated strategic responsibilities (such as emergency services and public transport) to the county-wide West Yorkshire Joint Services and joint boards.

Its headquarters were County Hall in Wakefield. This was built in 1888 for West Riding County Council, which occupied it until its abolition in 1974. The building is now the home of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.

The council's 88 members were first elected on 12 April 1973, to take office on 1 April 1974. They were elected for four years, and elections were held each four years thereafter.

The Coat of arms of West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council was granted by letters patent in 1975.

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