§ Mr. Nicholls
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what studies he is undertaking into the effect of standard spending assessments on the county of Devon; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Curry
We have commissioned a number of studies on local government finance and will have their findings as we prepare for next year's local government settlement. These cover the following areas: the area cost adjustment; the effects on local authority costs of sparsity and density of population; and the costs of personal social services for children and for the elderly in residential care.339W
The findings are the subject of detailed discussions with interested parties, but the eventual decisions will necessarily apply to all local authorities.