Section 143: Grants to promote or facilitate exercise of functions by best value authorities
375.Section 143 inserts new sections 36A and 36B into the Local Government Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”). Those sections enable grants to be paid to a person for the purpose of improving the performance of best value authorities. Any grant can be paid subject to conditions (sections 36A(5) and (6) and 36B(4) and (5)).
376.The powers are exercisable by a Minister of the Crown (“a Minister”) and, in relation to Welsh best value authorities, by Welsh Ministers (sections 36A(1) and 36B(1)). Treasury consent is required for any grant made by a Minister (section 36A(2)(a)). The consent of Welsh Ministers is also required where grant is given by a Minister as regards the exercise of functions by a Welsh best value authority (section 36A(2)(b)).
377.Section 143 will come into force two months after Royal Assent. If section 144 (which introduces the term “Welsh best value authority” into Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1999) has not been commenced at that time, section 143(2) ensures that new sections 36A and 36B will have effect by reference to the existing provisions in the Local Government Act 1999 until such time as section 144 is commenced.
378.The definition of best value authorities in section 36A(7) is slightly broader than the definition used elsewhere in the 2003 Act, since it includes the Greater London Authority exercising functions otherwise than through the Mayor.
379.It is envisaged that the new powers will primarily be used to improve the performance of best value authorities in situations where for example grant cannot be paid under section 31 of the 2003 Act (power to pay grants to local authorities), or where for timing reasons grant cannot be paid under section 78 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (duty for Secretary of State to pay grants to receiving authorities and specified bodies) or section 84E of the same Act (which contains analogous functions as regards Wales).