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Local Authority Expenditure

Volume 24: debated on Monday 17 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment under what statutory authority he uses grant-related expenditure assessments as alternatives to the spending targets for local authorities; and whether the Local Government Finance (No. 2) Bill at present before Parliament contains any provision to this effect.

The guidance or targets which successive Government have given to local authorities from time to time about their spending levels does not require statutory authority. I have not at any time proposed grant-related expenditure assessments as the targets for individual authorities.Clause 4 of the Local Government Finance Bill currently before Parliament will provide express powers for reducing the grant entitlements of local authorities that spend above their targets. An amendment to clause 4 has been tabled last week in another place to enable exemptions from such reductions to be given in relation to particular types of expenditure at the request of local authorities or the associations. This amendment will also enable exemption from grant reduction to be given to all authorities spending below their grant-related expenditure.In the light of representations from a large number of authorities the proposals for grant reduction in respect of 1981–82 and 1982–83 which I have already announced embody an exemption for authorities spending below grant-related expenditure.