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Local Authority Service Provision

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th September 2011.

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Photo of Julie Hilling Julie Hilling Labour, Bolton West 2:30 pm, 5th September 2011

What recent assessment he has made of potential effects on levels of local authority service provision of reductions in central Government funding to local authorities.

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Local government is best placed to assess and decide on local priorities, not Whitehall. This Government have given councils the power and flexibility to take decisions locally on how to deliver the savings needed, and I hope that they will do so by reducing back-office inefficiencies and high senior salary levels, rather than cutting the front-line services that matter most.

Photo of Julie Hilling Julie Hilling Labour, Bolton West

Youth workers in Oxfordshire, like others up and down the country, were instructed to work on the streets during the recent disturbances, but they are now all being made redundant. Youth work is clearly a front-line service, so what is the Minister going to do to stop this destruction? I do hope that he is not going to reiterate the nonsense that savings can be made by cutting executive pay and merging back-room functions.

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

I am sorry that, in her otherwise serious point, the hon. Lady suggests that efficiency is nonsense; I do not think that it is. In answer to her specific point, the British Youth Council, the National Youth Agency and the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services have all condemned the disorder that we saw on the streets and they are working well with the Government. I hope that she will support the Government’s initiative for national citizen service, which is being piloted in the Bolton lads and girls club in her area. There’s youth service in action!