Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Part of Department for Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 5:44 pm on 2nd July 2019.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire 5:44 pm, 2nd July 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention, and I will move on from this subject quickly having made my points. I hope that those on the Treasury Bench will consider my points about fracking, decommissioning costs and the NPPF.

There is an awful lot of discussion about the distribution of money, and I recognise that Derbyshire County Council, which is ably led by Barry Lewis, and North East Derbyshire District Council, which is now Conservative-led for the first time in 40 years, are now having to grapple with many of the issues talked about in this debate. I accept that there is a real debate about distribution, but there is also a debate about the overall funding envelope for local government.

As a member of the Public Accounts Committee—there are many esteemed colleagues in the Chamber who are or have been members of the Committee—I know that it is charged with looking at value for money in the public sector, and we regularly see millions or billions of pounds not being spent effectively or efficiently or not securing the correct outcomes. If we lose that from the debates around topics such as this, we lose a key part of what we should be doing as Members of Parliament. We should be discussing not only how much we spend, but what we spend, where we spend it and what the outcomes are. That focus on outcomes has been lost in political discourse since at least 2017, if not before, and I hope it returns not just to this debate, but to wider British politics as a whole.