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Local Government Finance

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect on local council budget plans for 2007-08 of the provisional financial settlement announced on 28 November. (109755)

The provisional financial settlement announced on 28 November confirms the increased investment in local services in 2007-08. Total Government grant will be £65.764 billion, an increase of £3.1 billion or 4.9 per cent. on 2006-07 on a like-for-like basis. This includes an extra £508 million above existing spending plans following joint work with the Local Government Association to identify pressures and the ways that they can be mitigated. Our proposals enable local authorities to deliver effective services without the need to impose excessive council tax. These provisional figures have been available to local authorities for the last year, facilitating the practice of advance planning and budgeting based on predictability. The deadline for comments on our proposals is 5 January.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what proportion of local authorities have been in (a) negative and (b) positive housing subsidy situations in each of the last 10 years; (107135)

(2) how many local authorities were in an (a) negative and (b) positive housing subsidy position in each of the last 10 years; and what sums were involved in each case.

Figures showing the positive and negative subsidy situations for local housing authorities in England for the ten years 1994-95 to 2004-05 (the last year for which audited figures are available) have been included in a table which has been placed in the House Library.

The housing revenue account subsidy system assesses each authority's notional income and notional need to spend in each year; where assumed income is greater than the assumed need to spend, the subsidy entitlement is shown as 'negative subsidy' and is captured by the system to cover assumed deficits in other authorities' housing revenue accounts. In recent years total surplus amounts redistributed have been smaller than total deficits and the Exchequer has contributed the difference.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have challenged the population estimates used in calculating the 2007-08 local government funding settlement. (109359)

The following local authorities have made specific representations regarding the mid-year population estimates: Barking and Dagenham, Brent, East Lindsey, Enfield, Haringey, Hounslow, Lambeth, Leeds, Lewisham, Newham, North Tyneside, Slough, Southwark.