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Business Liquidation: Costs to Local Authorities

Volume 736: debated on Monday 10 July 2023

3. If he will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the capacity of local authorities to respond to unexpected costs arising from businesses entering liquidation. (905856)

The local government finance settlement of up to £59.7 billion for 2023-24 increases core spending power by 9.4%. Most of that funding is unringfenced, as local authorities are best placed to understand their local priorities. The Government also spend approximately £8 billion through targeted long-term investment in high streets and small businesses.

Residents in the Marsh area of Lancaster, Lancaster City Council and I are concerned about the future of a skip site on the Lune industrial estate that has gone into liquidation. The cost of clean-up is higher than the value of the land. Will the Minister make time to meet me and Lancaster City Council to discuss what steps the council can take to ensure that residents know that the environment they are living in is healthy and safe?

I understand that the hon. Lady is in touch with the Environment Agency about that, and that there is an ongoing investigation. Although she will appreciate that I cannot comment on any specifics of the case, I would, of course, be happy to meet her to discuss the wider issue of waste remediation. Our Government are committed to tackling waste crime: we have increased the Environment Agency’s budget by £10 million per year and tightened the law to make it harder for rogue operators to find work in the sector and easier for regulators to take action against criminals.