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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 John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Environment 4:08 pm, 15th June 1995

My hon. Friend is perfectly right, and I pay tribute to Sheffield for what it has done. We gave Sheffield that breathing space because it has at long last—after the demise of the two hon. Gentlemen whom I mentioned—begun a management plan to face the issues of the debts that have been placed on the people of Sheffield. We gave Sheffield that help in respect of that plan and it continues this year. I am sure that that was the right thing to do.

Lincolnshire police authority was the only police authority to seek an increase in the capping limit. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department and I accept that the transition to a new cash-limited financial regime in 1995–96 has created particular difficulties for the authority. We have decided to agree to the budget proposed by the authority—a relaxation of £1.8 million. I must stress, however, that that relaxation is intended as a one-off adjustment, to enable the authority to adjust to the new financial regime and to give it the time that it needs to plan and implement the savings of about £1 million that Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary has identified as achievable through improved management efficiency.

This year, it is for Lincolnshire to do what Sheffield was asked to do last year. It must take advantage of the temporary help that has been given, to ensure that a situation that it ought to be able to put right, is put right.