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The hon. Gentleman may come unstuck with his cockiness about that. On this issue and on many others, the values and policies of my party are much closer to what the people of this country want. Before he gets carried away with himself, I remind him that the election is yet to be held and we are determined that what we think are the right policies for this country will win out-and my right hon. and hon. Friends agree.
Yesterday's paper promised a transformation in the amount of data about local services, costs and quality available on the web in a form that enables the public to scrutinise, to compare and to propose better ways of running services. Money will be tight, so we back a rebirth of municipal enterprise and the expansion of trading to generate new streams of income. All this is backed up by our commitment to give councils the powers that they need to scrutinise effectively public service spending in their area.
I am pleased that we have had this debate, because it has enabled us to set out clearly that we have had another good settlement for local government. It is a settlement that will lead to the lowest council tax increases for 16 years at least, and to the protection and improvement of public services. The debate has shown the Conservatives as having no policies and no views on how to protect public services for local people, whereas the Government believe in local government, work with it and support it.
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