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Local Government Finance: Energy

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment her Department has made of the effects of energy prices on local authority costs. (255220)

The Department has not made an assessment of the effects of energy prices on local authority costs. However, a recent report by the Audit Commission “Crunch Time? The Impact of the Economic Downturn on Local Government Finances.” identified expenditure on gas, electricity, fuel and food as areas which have seen the highest level of inflation in council expenditure. However, it also found that this made up less than 2 per cent. of total local authority spending and that inflation was now reducing, easing some of the in-year pressures. It reported that fuel prices are now lower than they were in April 2008. The Government expect the significant fall in the price of crude oil to feed into the cost of other goods and to impact on energy bills in due course.