Responding to the Association of Directors of Social Services' budget survey for 1995-96, Mr Bowis said:
'Directors of social services have expressed their pessimistic expectations. This survey does not add up to an objective and realistic assessment of the resources placed at their disposal.
'From April, every local authority will receive a real terms increase for social services at a time when public spending generally is undoubtedly tight. 'The facts speak for themselves.
'We usually hear dire predictions of under-funding from local authority social services at this time of the year. Each year, budgets have proved to be adequate and outturn higher than budgets.
'It is for councils to decide their priorities and to use resources effectively to deliver quality social services.
'They should be ready to scrutinise their spending to eliminate waste and inefficiency. Where they decide to reduce spending, I hope they will not miss the opportunity to cut-back on bureaucracy, and to close care homes owned by the council where the service can be provided with better value by the independent sector.'