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Local Government Expenditure

Volume 932: debated on Thursday 26 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in view of local authorities' response to voluntary restrictions on expenditure for the financial years 1976–77 and 1977–78, if he will give an assurance that his Department is not seeking to restrict or control local authority balances.

Certainly. I have never sought to restrict or control local authority balances.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in view of the effective control over local authority capital and revenue expenditure exercised through transport policy programmes and housing investment programmes and cash limits on rate support grant, if he will give an assurance that local decision making will not be further affected by increased restrictions on local government financial autonomy.

As I made clear in my recent statement on local government finance, the Government's aims are to increase the financial autonomy of local government rather than reduce it.