§ Baroness Stedman
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How the request for a reduction in spending of £13.9 million in Cambridgeshire accords with previous comments in letters from the Secretary of State for the Environment that "the new system would reduce the pressure on the generally low spending authorities".
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Bellwin)
The block grant system distributes a fixed total of rate support grant between authorities in relation to their needs and resources, so that for a common poundage cost to ratepayers they can provide a standard level of service. Authorities planning to spend near or below their needs assessments avoid the higher poundage costs associated in block grant with spending significantly above the needs assessment. However, at the same time we are asking authorities to plan for a level of net current expenditure (on wages, salaries, goods and services) in 1981–82 which is consistent with our overall public expenditure provision for local government as a whole to reduce by 5.6 per cent. in real terms below its spending three years ago. in Cambridgeshire's case this requires a reduction of £13.9 million below its present budget.