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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 have, of course, looked very carefully at what the hon. Gentleman has said. I tried to look across to see whether there was something about the new method which was deleterious to Liverpool, for the reasons that the hon. Gentleman has outlined. As far as one can compare the last years of the previous system before 1979 and the years since, the gap between what Liverpool gained with what the authorities which are often compared with it gained was significantly larger. So that problem has been delineated before.

There are difficulties in places where the population is falling, for example. I have looked at the matter carefully. Many of the things that we have taken into account this time have been helpful. I think that the hon. Gentleman would agree that the use of unemployment as one of the elements to consider has been helpful. That is something for which the associations asked and which was denied them by previous Governments. I am pleased that we have brought in that element. I shall look again, but, after all, Liverpool is third in the north-west as I understand it. It has significant resources, but I shall be happy to look specifically at the points that the hon. Gentleman makes.