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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 think that Opposition Members may have been trying to ensure that I address the Chair directly. I apologise if I did not do so. It enables me to say directly to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that there are also five members of staff whose only job is to deal with the local government review and to send out various documents to frighten people about what might happen if they were to lost control of Cornwall. Many local authorities have spent large sums of money advertising themselves.

I have to be careful because another case from Cleveland is now in the courts. The House has passed legislation and debated its results yet some authorities have spent vast sums of ratepayers' money not only on advertising their superiority over others but on frightening people against possible changes. They then fight in the courts even beyond the point at which, when the judgment is read, anyone spending his own money would feel that the case against him had been proven.