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Local Government Finance

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which (a) specific and (b) area-based grants are distributed to local authorities by each division of his Department; (285047)

(2) what recent estimate has been made of the annual cost to (a) his Department of distributing each grant made by it to local authorities and (b) local authorities of administering each such grant;

(3) what (a) eligibility conditions and (b) compliance measures are in place in respect of the expenditure by local authorities of each grant distributed by his Department; and what recent estimate has been made of the annual cost to his Department of monitoring the compliance by local authorities with such measures in respect of each such grant.

The Government believe in giving local authorities greater flexibility to take decisions on local priorities. The introduction of the area based grant has reduced ring-fencing, giving councils increased flexibility to manage their budgets. Alongside this, the new local performance framework has provided a simplified and more effective structure for priority setting and performance measurement.

The following specific revenue grants are being paid by this Department direct to local authorities in 2009-10:

Policy area

Grant

Waste Strategy

London Waste and Recycling Board Fund

Exotic Disease and Agency Relationship Portfolio

Animal Health and Welfare Enforcement

Atmospheric Quality and Industrial Pollution

Air Quality Monitoring Equipment

Soils

Contaminated Land

Water

Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management

Area based grant is paid by Communities and Local Government on behalf of the Government as a whole, in monthly instalments. Funding streams from this Department which are being paid through area based grant in 2009-10 are:

Policy area

Grant

People and Landscapes

Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund

Waste Strategy

Waste Infrastructure Capital Grant

The Department does not routinely estimate the costs of distributing grants each year, although it does consider the cost effectiveness of proposals as part of the policy development process. It also assesses whether there will be any new burdens on local authorities, and ensures that these are fully funded when a policy is implemented.

As area based grants are not ring-fenced, they come with no specific conditions or compliance requirements.

Eligibility conditions and compliance measures vary with each specific revenue grant.