HC Deb 28 January 1993 vol 217 cc799-800W
Mr. Richards

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he will announce his decision on the 1993–94 local government settlement and relevant notional amounts.

Mr. David Hunt

I have given careful consideration to the representations I have received on my provisional settlement proposals. I have also chaired two meetings of the Welsh Consultative Council on Local Government Finance at which settlement issues were discussed.

I acknowledge that my plans for 1993–94 will mean local authorities in Wales having to make hard budgeting decisions and rigorously pursuing efficiency savings. Having taken account of all the representations made to me on the settlement, I remain of the view that my proposals represent the most that the country and local taxpayers can afford in the present economic circumstances. I have therefore decided to set total standard spending—TSS—at £2,599.8 million and aggregate external finance—AEF—at £2,344.2 million for 1993–94. Both TSS and AEF will include the additional resources of £1.6 million that I announced to the House on 14 December 1992 to take account of changes in the independent living fund arrangements.

AEF will comprise £1,669.3 million in revenue support grant, £470.2 million in distributable non-domestic rates, and £204.7 million in specific and supplementary grants. My decisions are, of course, subject to the approval of the House.

The TSS I have announced for 1993–94 represents an increase of 3.1 per cent. on 1992–93 plus an additional £35.9 million for care in the community. It means an increase of almost 29 per cent. for the three financial years since 1990–91. My plans mean that 90 per cent. of all local authority revenue expenditure in Wales would be met by central Government and should ensure a reasonable level of council tax for local taxpayers in Wales.

I trust that local authorities will budget prudently and play their part in restraining public expenditure.

On the matter of notional amounts in lieu of budgets for 1992–93 I have considered all the representations made to me by local authorities and have made amendments to the provisional figures issued in December where I have considered it appropriate to do so. My Department has today written to all local authorities informing them of their standard spending assessments for 1993–94 and their notional amounts. I have placed details of the figures in the Library of the House.

I propose to lay the Local Government Finance Report (Wales) 1993–94 and the Limitation of Council Tax and Precepts (Relevant Notional Amounts) Report (Wales) 1993–94 before the House, for its approval, early next week.