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Local Government Funding

Volume 662: debated on Monday 17 June 2019

7. What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the level of funding for local government. (911358)

The Secretary of State and I both meet our counterparts at the Treasury regularly. Future funding for local government will, of course, be decided in the spending review, and the hon. Lady can rest assured that we will be making a robust case.

Since 2010, North Tyneside Council has lost £120-million worth of Government funding and, like many other councils, has had to cut frontline services to the marrow, not just to the bone. With the Chancellor admitting that he does not have a clue about the state of regional economies, can this House be confident that the Minister will make him fully aware of how bad things are for local councils?

The Chancellor and my Department have already responded with an extra £1 billion to improve resources for local government. The hon. Lady may not believe me when I say that we are supporting local government, but perhaps she might listen to her own local authority. This weekend I glanced through the council’s plan, which shows that inequality between the least and most affluent areas is narrowing, that according to feedback from residents 80% of local people are highly satisfied with where they live, and that an increased proportion of residents think their local area has improved.

We note the Minister’s choice of weekend reading: the capital plan. I hope he found it stimulating or in some way therapeutic. I am sure we will hear his impressions on that matter in due course.

Given the importance of the need to demonstrate the effectiveness of spending through local government, will the Minister tell us when we will see the results of the successful bidders for the future high street fund?

Successive rounds of bidding are currently in process. I can write to the hon. Lady with an exact date, if one is available from my hon. Friend the high streets Minister. More broadly, the hon. Lady is absolutely right about the need to measure the effectiveness of what local government does. In particular, the troubled families programme, with its extensive evaluation, provides great evidence to everyone in the House on the valuable early years prevention work that local councils do.

We all know that the Minister is an industrious fellow—I am sorry to dwell on this—but I sincerely hope that he was not reading the capital plan on Father’s day. Surely not. I am sure he must have read it on Friday or Saturday, not on Sunday.