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By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley ...
By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley

Consultations are to begin shortly on the government's review of standard spending assessments, Christopher Leslie, junior minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, told MPs.

On the question of grant distribution, there were no easy solutions. Many difficult and competing pressures would have to be faced.

He assured Stephen McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, that moves to decrease the amount of ring-fenced funding was on the agenda.

Mr McCabe said one constant criticism by local authorities was the rising level of ring-fenced grants. That difficulty limited councils' room for manoeuvre and on local working partnerships. He urged the minister to try to address that problem.

Mr Leslie said that was extremely important and the government was discussing the matter with the LGA - not least in the context of the forthcoming spending review. The local government white paper had spelled out clearly the government's aim gradually to restrict ring-fenced grants to genuinely high-priority areas.

Hansard 3 July 2002: Column 213-214

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