HC Deb 11 February 1999 vol 325 cc304-5W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on how many occasions the Minister for Local Government and Housing has declined requests from local authorities to discuss the local government grant settlement(a) in person and (b) by video link. [70069]

Ms Armstrong

Three local authorities, Gloucestershire County Council, Babergh District Council and Greater Manchester Fire and Civil Defence Authority, were refused a meeting in consultation on the Local Government Finance Settlement for 1999–2000. The Department received their requests after the deadline of 5 January for the receipt of written requests, as set in the Department's letter of 2 December covering the consultation package on the proposals for the Settlement. It is important in a consultation process that all authorities are given equal treatment. To meet local authorities when their request had been received beyond the deadline would have been to single those authorities out for more favourable treatment. Ministers in the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions did, however, meet all seventy-two local authorities that had made a request that was received before the deadline.