May I start by echoing the sentiments of the Secretary of State and hon. Members on both sides of the House? Within the short space of time that I have served as Local Government Minister, I have seen countless examples of the lengths to which councils go to serve their communities. It is a privilege to represent them in the Government, and I commend the hard-working staff and councillors delivering the services on which our communities depend.
I am proud that this Government are listening to those councils, recognising the pressures they face and responding to their concerns. That is why local government is seeing a real-terms increase in financial resources over the next two years. That is why local government is benefiting from an extra £2 billion in social care funding, and that is why local government is keeping billions more of its own money through business rates retention.