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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

The increase in Devon's education SSA is about twice as high as the average for the counties. Its staff numbers have increased by more than 2 per cent. In one year. A county in that position should not frighten people. It should look at its own internal arrangements and find ways of saving money so that it can be spent on the front line—on those who really need it.

It is important to take this seriously. I have with me the telephone directory of Cornwall county council—I am not just dealing with inner London. It is a pretty big list and its tone sums up what we need to look at carefully. For example, on the page that says, "Chief Executives Office" it lists numbers for the chief executive, assistant chief executive, assistant chief executive and a third assistant chief executive. I then see two secretarial staff, five support staff, three press and public relations staff—[Interruption.]