Local Government Financing

Part of Opposition Day — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 8:47 pm on 29th June 2010.

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Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Conservative, Loughborough 8:47 pm, 29th June 2010

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for inviting me to speak in this debate. First, I join other Members in congratulating my hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton South West (Paul Uppal) and for Dudley South (Chris Kelly) on their very fine maiden speeches.

What we have heard from Labour Members throughout the debate has been a reinvention of the past 13 years. They have talked about a number of schemes that are desperately important, very much needed, and must be funded, many of which, I am sure, have been very welcome and have done sterling work. However, the question is where was the money going to keep coming from. At the front of the Red Book, there is a stark chart showing that for 2010-11 Government receipts were to be about £578 billion and Government spending more than £600 billion. That is unsustainable even in the short term, and that is why this Government are having to take the very tough decisions that have been discussed at great length today.

Angela Smith talked about decent homes funding. I would like her to explain to my local arm's length management organisation, Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing, why it thought that it was going to be bidding for decent homes funding and then found that that money had been diverted to build more social housing. I do not disagree that more social housing may be needed, but that was another example of the game changes in the middle of the year about which Labour Members have complained so bitterly.

Roberta Blackman-Woods talked about free school meals. Perhaps she could explain to a constituent who recently wrote to me about this why she and her husband, who are still together, struggling on a low income, and who really need free school meals for their children are unable to get them, while children of parents who have split up, with at least one parent certainly able to afford school meals, are getting them.

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