Local Government Finances
Opposition Day — [1st allotted day]
Bob Neill (- Shadow Minister (Local Government and Planning) (Also Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party), Communities and Local Government; Bromley and Chislehurst, Conservative)
My hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right. I saw that system in its early days when I was still in local government. I still talk to colleagues in local government. Inspection has become an industry in itself, and the complexity of the regime and the burden it imposes, in terms of direct costs, officer time and the shifting of priorities, is wholly disproportionate to the level of risk involved. It breaches the fundamental rule that any inspection regime should be simple, sensible and rational.
There is nothing in the settlement to deal with issues that could sensibly have been dealt with, which is a major disappointment. The Government seek to get around things by quoting figures, but as I demonstrated, the impact of their figures is not borne out or supported by experience on the ground.