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Greater London Authority Act 1999

Sections 30 to 34: The general and subsidiary powers of the Authority

90.Section 30 of the Act provides for the Authority to have power to do anything which will further any one or more of its principal purposes. The Act defines the GLA's principal purposes as being - to promote economic development and wealth creation in Greater London; to promote social development in Greater London; and to promote the improvement of the environment in Greater London (see sections 30(2) and 424 for interpretation).

91.In determining whether or not to exercise its power to further one or more of its principal purposes the Authority is required to consider the effect this may have on the remaining purpose or purposes – in so far as that is practicable – and, over a period of time, to secure a reasonable balance between furthering each of its principal purposes. It must consider the effects the proposed exercise of the power would have on the health of people in London, and the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom. If it decides to exercise its powers it must do so in a way which is best calculated to promote improvements to the health of people in Greater London and which will contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

92.The Authority will have to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State under section 30(7) concerning the application of the Authority's general purpose.

93.Section 31 sets out certain limitations on the exercise of the Authority’s general power. The Authority will not be able to do anything using this power which would duplicate the statutory functions of TfL, the MPA or the LFEPA, and must seek to secure that it does not duplicate the activities of the London Development Agency. It will also be unable to duplicate the statutory functions of local authorities or of other public bodies, in particular the London borough councils and the London Health Authorities. Subsection (3) specifies the services in respect of which the GLA cannot incur expenditure - including housing, education, social services or health services - where these services may be provided by a London borough, the Common Council or any other public body. Subsection (7) gives the Secretary of State a power to add to the list things which the Authority is prevented from doing in this way. Subsection (8) contains a reserve power to impose limits on the expenditure that can be incurred using the general power, and subsection (9) gives the Secretary of State powers to remove or restrict any such prohibitions imposed by this section.

94.The Mayor will however be able to use the power in section 30 to co-operate with other public authorities or bodies, or to co-ordinate or facilitate the activities of such authorities or bodies on a London-wide or a wider than local basis. This might include, with the agreement of such authorities or bodies, providing a related specialist service which would be of benefit to London as a whole.

95.To protect other authorities or bodies, organisations or individuals whose interests might be affected by the exercise of its general power, section 32 (1) requires the Authority to consult such bodies or persons as it may consider appropriate in any particular case, prior to the exercise of the power. Section 32(2) provides that, in deciding whom to consult, the Authority must consider whether or not to consult the following bodies or organisations: the London Boroughs and the Common Council; voluntary bodies whose activities benefit the whole or part of Greater London ; bodies which represent the interests of different racial, ethnic or national groups; bodies which represent different religious groups; and bodies which represent the interests of persons carrying on business in Greater London. Combined, these provisions mean that the Mayor may exercise the Authority’s general power only after he has consulted bodies or persons whose interests will be affected by the exercise of that power.

96.Section 33 requires the Authority to make appropriate arrangements with a view to securing that, in the exercise of its general power and the preparation and implementation of its strategies, there is due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people. It also requires the Authority to publish, annually, a report setting out the arrangements which have been put in place during the year to which the report applies and making an assessment of how effective those arrangements were in promoting equality of opportunity. Section 34 provides for the Authority to be able to do anything which is incidental to the exercise of its functions, including its general power under section 30.

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Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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