§ Sir John Stanley
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what figure for the rate of inflation was used by the Minister for Local Government in his statement on 16 January that each local authority would receive at least an above inflation increase in grant for 2004–05. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
The latest estimate of inflation available on 16 January was the Retail Price Index—all items excluding Mortgage Interest: Payments (RPIX) for November 2003 at 2.5 per cent.
Every local authority in England with responsibility for education and social services received at least a 4 per cent. increase in formula grant on a like-for-like basis in 2004–05; every shire district received at least a 3 per cent. increase; every fire authority received at least a 3½ per cent. increase; and every police authority received at least a 3¼ per cent. increase.