We collect a range of financial data on local government, which is published online. Local authorities also publish their own financial data, including budget documents and accounts. We routinely engage with a range of local authorities to discuss various issues, including finance.
Will the Minister confirm that a major review of fair funding for local government is under way? Given that Northamptonshire County Council is considering closing 28 of its 36 libraries, will he encourage it to bring forward innovative proposals to set up a county-wide libraries trust to keep those vital facilities open?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right that we are pushing ahead with our review of fair funding for local authorities. I certainly encourage Northamptonshire County Council to look at all innovative ways to provide the services that are valued by its local residents.
We recognise the financial pressure that Northamptonshire County Council is under and we stand ready to look at any locally led proposals from across Northamptonshire on how local government might be better restructured to transform challenges into opportunities.