Local Government Financing

Part of Opposition Day — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:05 pm on 29th June 2010.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South 5:05 pm, 29th June 2010

I am still trying to understand what the Minister has just said. It seems to me that he is applying the solutions of the 1980s. I do not know where he was at the time, but some of us were in local government and on the receiving end. I am sure that some of my colleagues will remember how capital programmes and rent revenue accounts were capped. The Minister talked about transparency, but I remind him that the Labour Government introduced the freedom of information legislation, so there are no accolades for him there. When I was involved in local government in the 1980s, we used to get a green memo-he mentioned Government interference-prodding us to privatise all sorts of things, from public transport to public toilets. So we need no lessons from the people over there.

I hope that the Minister will clarify the position on regional development agencies. What will happen to Advantage West Midlands? Many people will know that it has been very important to the west midlands economy. In fact, only a couple of weeks ago I received representations from small businesses in the area expressing concern about the threat to abolish that organisation. Let us consider Ansty business park. When we created a business park at Warwick university about 25 years ago, we were criticised by the then Tory Government, but later on it became the greatest thing since sliced bread. People in Coventry see the Ansty business park as preparation for the economic revival-

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