§ Dr. Whitehead
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what modelling he has done of local authority costs incurred in implementing the procedures for localising elements of the business rate as set out in the Local Government White Paper. 
§ Ms Armstrong
Local authorities already have a statutory duty to consult businesses. The proposals in the White Paper, in respect of local authorities' responsibility to listen to their communities, require authorities to make such consultation arrangements effective. The partnership arrangements between business and local authorities needed for the localisation scheme will be based on these effective consultation arrangements. In addition, local authorities will be given the maximum flexibility to agree both suitable partnership arrangements for their areas, and the methods for securing the endorsement of these arrangements by business. The additional costs arising from the localisation scheme are expected to be small, but we will discuss with the Local Government Association any concerns it may have. A consultation paper is to be issued shortly.