Local Government Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:04 pm on 22nd February 2017.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party, Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government) 4:04 pm, 22nd February 2017

My hon. Friend makes a very good point, which is why it is all the more worrying that Ministers want to abolish the revenue support grant totally under the Local Government Finance Bill.

Perhaps I should not be too harsh on the Secretary of State. After all, he has had a rough week. He was accused by the former Conservative party chairman of “spinning the numbers”, and I hear that there was concern among Conservative Members that the Secretary of State was being hung out to dry by colleagues, so it was good to hear the Prime Minister’s spokesperson confirm that No. 10 still had full confidence in him. In truth, in just eight short months, the Secretary of State has been found asleep at the wheel twice—with a social care crisis entirely of the Government’s own making, about which he was warned well in advance, and now a business rates crisis, which he must have known might create a problem for many businesses, given that his party delayed the revaluation by two years, yet the seriousness of which it has apparently taken him until now to grasp.

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