Orders of the Day — Local Government Finance (Scotland)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:05 pm on 28th February 1996.

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Photo of Mr George Robertson Mr George Robertson Shadow Secretary of State 6:05 pm, 28th February 1996

Absolutely, Mr. Deputy Speaker; I am simply saying that we have two sets of people to believe—the Minister or a set of councillors from all parties, including the Conservative party. If Ministers are telling the truth, those people are inventing a crisis in Scotland. I do not believe that they are inventing a crisis. We would have to believe that those councillors are conspiring to cut schools, homes and community centres and to increase council tax by five times the rate of inflation. We would have to believe that they are doing all that simply to embarrass the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Is anyone expected to believe that all that pain, all those threatened jobs and all the agonised judgments of Solomon that have been made in almost every council before next Tuesday are, in Sir Michael Hirst's words, simply to force the Government "on to the defensive"? The fact is that we do not believe—