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Local Government Finance

Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 23 January 2007

22. To what extent her Department will take into account its assessment of value for money in local authority spending in 2005-06 when it determines local authority grant uplifts for 2006-07; and if she will make a statement. (117393)

The Minister will be aware that my local council of Wandsworth received a much lower than average grant uplift this year—in spite of being graded excellent by the Audit Commission and in spite of being rated as the best value for taxpayers’ money council in the whole country. How can he justify my local taxpayers getting such a raw deal from Whitehall when the council is doing such a good job?

I challenge the hon. Lady’s assumption that her constituents are getting a raw deal. Indeed, we specifically provided a floor to protect authorities such as hers that do not suffer the same deprivation—I am not denying that there is some deprivation in her area—as other authorities. Rather than criticise us, I would have thought that the hon. Lady would be thanking the Government for providing a floor to protect the grant, which has been above inflation throughout the Government’s period of office.