Local Government Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 10th July 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Hanningfield Lord Hanningfield Conservative 7:00 pm, 10th July 2003

My Lords, I should like to add one further point in support of my noble friend Baroness Hanham. We discussed this in Grand Committee and I should like the Minister to clarify this point. We have a prudential borrowing regime that is accepted by the professional bodies. We spoke about this at considerable length in Grand Committee. This regime is generally supported by local government. That should be enough power for the Government. The whole point of the new system is that local authorities would not be able to borrow if they could not afford it. We all recognise that this regime could be a good way forward for capital borrowing in local government. This particular power is encapsulated in the prudential borrowing regime. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, described the Minister's approach as "iron fisted". I believe it could be a slightly sinister approach where Ministers could target particular authorities when they should already be covered by the borrowing regime. We shall come back to this again because we still have not had a satisfactory response.