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CIPFA would decline any invitation to become involved in the selection of beacon councils, the environment select c...
CIPFA would decline any invitation to become involved in the selection of beacon councils, the environment select committee heard this week.

Giving evidence to the final session of the committee's inquiry into local government finance, CIPFA council member Tony Redmond said as a membership body 'it would be a little difficult for us to get involved'.

He also indicated the organisation would not be able to draw up the criteria for use of reserve capping powers under the government's new plans for local government funding.

But he urged the government not to use capping as a blunt instrument but instead to take account of how each council intended to use the money it sought to raise.

Mr Redmond, chief executive and finance director at Harrow LBC, denied suggestions from committee chair Andrew Bennett that local authority finance directors enjoy bamboozling councillors with the complexities of the existing local government finance system.

'You would be wrong to think all local authority treasurers understand the system. I think it is a positive disadvantage to have a system that you can't explain to the public.'

Labour MP Alan Whitehead asked the Audit Commission if it had studied the cost of councils lobbying for changes to the standard spending assessment formula.

Commission director of local government studies Bob Chilton said while no figure had been put on the cost of lobbying, a commission report noted that 'four environment ministers were continuously sitting hearing submissions'.

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