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Orders of the Day — Local Government Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:40 pm on 1st February 1995.

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Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Environment 4:40 pm, 1st February 1995

I listened with great care to Newham's case on whether it should be an inner or outer-London authority. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will agree that I listened with concern and, as far as one is allowed in what I suppose is inelegantly referred to as a quasi-judicial position, with sympathy in an attempt to see whether I could meet its wish. The hon. Gentleman's position, however, is not entirely supported. Other Labour boroughs in London have made it clear that they would be extremely annoyed if past action by Newham council were rewarded at the expense of more efficient local councils.

There are some prime examples in London of where savings can be achieved. I note, for example, that the average number of non-manual staff in central services is 3.46 per 1,000 in inner-London boroughs, but 7.7 per 1,000 in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Savings could be made there and applied to what is accepted as a less than adequate education service.