I welcome my right hon. Friend’s support for the settlement and I very much sympathise with the issues he raised about rural communities. He has been a passionate advocate of this for a long time. I am pleased that his local authority, Shropshire, is part of the working group that we have established to look at the specific challenges faced by more rural areas. I reassure him that the fair funding review must look exactly at the kinds of issues that he mentions and that he knows a lot about. We must make sure that we get it right this time.
As we conduct the fair funding review, we need to ensure that it is up to date, more transparent and brings a fairer, needs-based assessment. It is vital that the new formula delivers, so we are working closely with all of local government to try to get that right. We had hundreds of responses to the call for evidence published by my Department last year, and it is clear that people in all areas feel strongly about this, as we have just heard from my right hon. Friend.