It is important that we do not tar all local authorities with the same brush. The overall situation is as the Minister presents it, but my hon. Friends are right to highlight that some local authorities—Stockton is one—have decided, in the current situation of cuts, to dedicate resources, and they have a very low backlog. In my own area of Salford, fewer than 200 applications were outstanding at the end of last year. In the London Borough of Bexley, the backlog is as low as 20 cases, and it had 1,385 applications last year. Some of our larger authorities—Salford, Bexley and Stockton—have decided to dedicate resources to this area, to effectively take resources away from other areas of their operation and to make this area a priority.
I met with DoLS leads in stakeholder meetings for the Bill, and they have a feeling that we are somehow denigrating them and running them down. A brilliant job is being done in places such as Salford and Bexley, and certainly Stockton. I do not want to send out a message from here that a resource problem that came upon this process because of the Cheshire West decision should be used to denigrate a process that can work and is working in some of our larger authorities. I hope the Minister will agree.