I thank the hon. Gentleman for his particularly eloquent contribution. Local authorities spending their time publishing weekly newspapers, or weekly Pravdas as the Secretary of State described them, is just not their role. We talk about front-line services, supporting people, homelessness and priority programmes to ensure that the sick, elderly and vulnerable are protected, but Opposition Members want to talk about local weekly Pravda newspapers published by local authorities. It simply is not the answer. What we want to do is ensure that local authorities are engaged in front-line services that help their population, not services that rival the local newspapers. We want to allow the local newspapers to operate without interference from local authorities.
Everyone knows that money is tight. Every strategy that we employ nationally and locally should focus on getting more for less. Innovation and efficiency must be king. The emergency Budget makes it clear that there are challenging times ahead. We want to ensure that local government is fully engaged with the next spending review. In particular, we expect councils to be involved in the series of events over the summer to discuss and debate various aspects of public spending. We will use the spending review to drive decentralisation across local government and national Government.
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