HC Deb 18 December 2002 vol 396 cc831-2
7. Mr. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)

What his estimate is of the per capita change in revenue support grant to the Isle of Wight council resulting from his changes to the distribution formula. [86324]

The Minister for Local Government and the Regions (Mr. Nick Raynsford)

Under our proposals, the Isle of Wight council will receive a grant increase of £3.56 million, which is equivalent to almost £27 per head more than in 2002–03.

Mr. Turner

I recognise and welcome that marginal increase in cash terms, but could the Minister explain how the grant settlement takes account of the additional costs of delivering statutory services, such as fire services, on an island, where we cannot get the help from adjoining authorities that we sometimes need. Will he agree to meet with me a group of representatives of the Isle of Wight council to discuss how those needs can more effectively be met?

Mr. Raynsford

I must tell the hon. Gentleman that our settlement of course takes account of the special circumstances of his area. He will be aware that in the last four years of the Conservative Government, the Isle of Wight received only a 1 per cent. increase in grant—a real-terms cut—whereas under this Government, it has received a 30 per cent. increase in grant. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to bring a delegation to discuss with me how his councillors will spend the extra money that we are making available to his authority, he should put that request in writing and we will, of course, consider it.

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