HC Deb 27 January 1993 vol 217 cc759-60W
21. Mr. Illsley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make adjustments to standard spending assessments for the financial year 1993–94.

Mr. Robin Squire

We have now completed the formal period of consultation in respect of the proposals for the 1993–94 settlement which were announced by my right hon. Friend on 26 November 1992. The Government's final decisions based on a careful consideration of all of the representations received will be laid before the House shortly.

27. Mr. Hall

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the local authority associations about the standard spending assessments for each local authority since 26 November 1992.

Mr. Robin Squire

The Secretary of State has received detailed representations from each of the local authority associations. Full consideration has been given to all of the issues raised by them together with those raised by individual local authorities. The "Local Government Finance Report for 1993–94" incorporating final decisions on standard spending assessments will be laid before the House very shortly.

Mr. Clifton-Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria are used in assessing the area costs allowance of standard spending assessments for local authorities; and if he will make a statement on their application to Gloucestershire.

Mr. Robin Squire

The area cost adjustment is based on an analysis of relative earnings in different parts of the country using the new earnings survey. The analysis focuses on those occupational groups which are most relevant to the labour markets in which local authorities operate. The information is adjusted to remove any distortions which might arise from variations in the mix of occupational groups in different areas. The area cost adjustment also allows for the assumed proportion of expenditure on each service likely to be related to labour costs.

Because the new earnings survey is based on a relatively small sample, the underlying analysis can provide sufficiently robust results only at regional level. This analysis has shown that only London and the south-east face labour costs which are consistently and significantly above the national average. Hence Gloucestershire, along with all other authorities outside the south-east, does not benefit from the area cost adjustment.