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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 read out the figures. There can be no such statement. The facts are that Somerset's SSA has gone up by much more than the county average for England. It cannot be presented as a cut, because it is an increase. I am sure that the hon. Member for Bath will wish immediately to renew communications with the public. In it, I hope that he will not only put right the fact that Somerset's SSA is not being cut, but ensure that no resident of Somerset misses the fact that the number of Somerset staff has increased by 3.4 per cent. in a year.

No private company could have managed such an increase while staying in business. The hon. Member for Bath should be ashamed of what Somerset Liberal Democrats have done and of the non-existence of the leader of the Liberal Democrats, who has made such a fuss. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman is afraid.