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Local Government Finance

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which local authorities in Devon have suffered a cut in real terms in central government funding on the basis of the new burdens principle; and if he will define the proposals and initiatives within the principle. [102042]

The Local Government Finance Settlement 2003–04 provides all authorities in Devon with an above inflation increase in formula grant. Three authorities in fact receive increases above 10 per cent. Where the Government have provided additional funds to those announced in SR2002 for specific new burdens, such as an extra £21.53 million for the End of Life Vehicles Directive, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has adjusted the 2002–03 baseline to enable a like for like comparison. This means that the above inflation grant increases we have guaranteed to all councils are over and above the extra money councils will be receiving for new burdensThe Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is committed to the new burdens principle which requires Government Departments to fully fund the extra costs on councils of any new initiative for which they are responsible. We looked with local government in the context of the Spending Review 2002 at the new burdens to be imposed on local government, along with the pressures on council expenditure and the scope for efficiency savings. This year's Settlement takes into account the outcome of that work and is reflected in the general grant increases over the next three years of 5.8 per cent., 4.9 per cent., and 6.9 per cent.In addition, there were a number of new burdens on local authorities which could not be finalised at the time of the Spending Review. The following transfers were added to the Local Government Finance Settlement 2003–04:

  • Teachers' Pensions £585.908 million
  • Concessionary fares £50 million
  • End of Life Vehicles Directive £21.530 million
  • Enterprise Bill £4.306 million
  • Animal Feedstuffs £2.5 million

Revenue consequence of Supplementary Credit Approvals for detrunked roads £1.444 million.