§ Mrs. May:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what discussions ministers or officials had with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead prior to the decision to limit their formula grant increase to their schools formula spending share increase under the proposed 2004–05 settlement; 
(2) what assessment his Department made of the impact of the decision to limit the formula grant increase for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to its schools formula spending share increase under the proposed 2004–05 settlement on (a) social services and (b) highways maintenance; 
(3) if he will set out the basis on which the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead was chosen as one of the 13 local authorities whose formula grant increase will be equal to their schools formula spending share increase under the proposed 2004–05 settlement. 
§ Mr. Raynsford:
No Minister or official from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister met the authority to discuss our proposals for 2004–05. Representatives of shire unitary authorities and the Local Government Association were involved in discussions on this topic with officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister at Settlement Working Group meetings.
Windsor and Maidenhead stand to benefit by around £1 million from the change to the grant system to give every authority at least as large an increase in Formula Grant as its Schools Formula Spending Share (FSS) increase. Excluding the adjustment for capital, the provisional settlement gives the authority an increase in Formula Grant of 5.0 per cent. compared to the 3.5 per cent. floor increase it would otherwise have received. Any impact on social services, highways maintenance and council tax would therefore be beneficial.
The basis on which we have given every authority at least as large an increase in Formula Grant as its Schools FSS increase is to calculate the increase in Formula Grant for each authority under the previous floors and ceilings system and compare it to their increase in Schools FSS. We propose that authorities should receive the greater of the two amounts.