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Local Government Finance: Audit Commission

Volume 471: debated on Friday 1 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what assessment she has made of the effect on costs for local authorities of the Audit Commission's new fees structure; and what funding her Department will be giving to local authorities under the new burdens principle in relation to Audit Commission fees; (183244)

(2) pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1299W, on Audit Commission: fees and charges, what estimate she has made of the audit fees for 2008-09 in (a) absolute terms and (b) as a percentage of those costs in 2007-08 for (i) a district council, (ii) a London borough, (iii) a unitary council, (iv) a metropolitan council and (v) a county council.

The Audit Commission is responsible for setting the fees for audit in the local government and housing sector. Its consultation paper—‘Proposed work programme and scales of fees 2008-09 and indicative fee proposals for 2009-10 and 2010-11’ set out details of potential average audit fees.

The Commission expect to take the final decision on audit fees for 2008-09 in March. Over the next three years, as the rolling programme of corporate assessments is replaced with comprehensive area assessment, with its focus on outcomes, there will be a significant overall reduction in the total costs of regulation. The Government are committed to ensuring that the net new burdens that it places on local government are fully funded.