§ Lord Lyell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What action they intend to take in relation to those authorities which have now set budgets above the limits implied by the intended capping criteria.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (Baroness Blatch)
We will not hesitate to use our capping powers to curb those authorities' budgets which we consider excessive68WA or represent an excessive increase over the previous year. As we have made clear on a number of occasions our present intention to apply the criteria which my right honourable friend the then Secretary of State for the Environment announced on 31st October 1990. These intended criteria are, however, necessarily provisional since we cannot take our capping decisions until authorities generally have set their budgets. When we do so, we shall take into account all appropriate considerations. But it is clearly a matter of concern that a few authorities have decided to budget at levels which under the intended criteria are excessive or represent an excessive increase: it remains open to such authorities to adopt substitute lower budgets if they so wish.