Harrow Council Funding — [Sir Christopher Chope in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 4:00 pm, 18th December 2018

I thank the hon. Gentleman, who is my constituency neighbour, for giving way. He is painting a bleak picture of the funding position. May I put two points to him? First, if the council were more business friendly and encouraged businesses to invest in Harrow, more business rates would come in. Business rates income in Harrow has been declining for many years, and it is forecast to reduce further.

Secondly, I believe I am correct in saying that at the moment the budget is balanced for next year, but the forecasts for future years are very challenging indeed. Has the hon. Gentleman seen any documentation from Harrow Council that sets out that dire picture? That may lead to a lobbying strategy in which he and I go to see Ministers together, with the aim of securing more money not just for the council but for specific issues such as those he describes—it may lead to our supporting each other to get more money for the services that all our residents depend on.