Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his colleague the Joint Parliamentary Secretary gave a figure of £15 million for rateborne expenditure when he spoke on rates on 5th May? Is it not extremely important that really accurate figures should be quoted to this House, in view of the great importance of rate-borne expenditure, and its relation one year with another?
There tend to be accounting differences in the figures as they appear in local authority accounts and as they are paid out by us, but I quite agree that the more quickly the accounts are published the better.
I am afraid that in local government statistics, as in other statistics, difficult discrepancies often appear that have to be reconciled before the full value of the figures can be assessed.