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Council Tax

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:08 pm on 15th June 1995.

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Photo of Mr Paul Marland Mr Paul Marland , Gloucestershire West 4:08 pm, 15th June 1995

I should like to help out with Gloucestershire. My right hon. Friend is right when he says that part of the trouble in Gloucestershire is the historic overspending. That is the problem, as the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Jones) knows full well. The council went on a spending spree when the hon. Gentleman was on the county council and ran up a deficit of more than £120 million. The third largest item on the council's budget is now debt servicing. The first item is education, the second is social services and the third is debt servicing. Historic overspending by Gloucestershire county council is the problem.

May I tell my right hon. Friend that I and other Gloucestershire Members of Parliament are sick and tired of being the whipping boys for Liberal and Labour overspending on Gloucestershire county council? Does he agree that it is time now to start looking at the possibility of raising the cap in order that the guilty men can be exposed and the blame can be laid where it truly should be—at the door of the Liberal and Labour—