§ Dr. Goodson-Wickes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his decision on the final caps for the nine local authorities which challenged their cap; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Gummer
I have laid before the House a draft order, under section 57 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, setting out our decisions on the final caps for Devon, Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Somerset county councils, Barnsley, Newcastle and Sheffield metropolitan district councils, Norwich city council and Lincolnshire police authority.
We have considered very carefully all the available relevant information, including the case made by the authorities in support of a higher cap, before taking our decisions. We have decided to increase the proposed caps for Somerset and Lincolnshire police by £2.6 million and £1.82 million respectively, to allow the budgets set by the authorities to remain unaltered; and to increase Barnsley's cap by £2 million, £1.09 million less than requested by the authorities.
The cap proposed for the other authorities have been confirmed.
The caps are, in our view, reasonable, appropriate and achievable in all the circumstances of the authorities concerned. These decisions will reduce public expenditure, and the burden on council taxpayers in the areas concerned by £24 million in 1995–96.