It is only right that local government should follow central Government and take a similarly tough approach to containing its costs. The Government's proposals for local authorities have been set on that basis. The 1995–96 total standard spending in England will be 2.2 per cent. higher than this year, including provision for community care. That is perfectly reasonable after a year in which provision was far better than local authorities had expected or planned for because of the Government's success in reducing inflation.
As in central Government, local authorities will need to pursue opportunities for savings rigorously. Local authorities have substantial scope for improvements in efficiency, and for other economies. By that means, and by concentrating on their priority areas, they will be able to protect key services. The Government will use their powers to cap excessive local authority budgets should that prove necessary.
My right hon Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will announce the details of the local authority government settlement on Thursday.