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WESTMINSTER WATCH - CONGRATULATIONS FOR LABOUR'S BAD JOB

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Ministers have managed to make the already opaque system of local government finance more complex, the House of Com...
Ministers have managed to make the already opaque system of local government finance more complex, the House of Commons has heard.

Eric Pickles, the Conservatives local government spokesman, told a debate on the review of the standard spending assessment he wanted to congratulate the ministers. They had, he said, 'taken a complex formula, added their own magic and made it even more complex'.

'The once impenetrable labyrinth of local government grant is now firmly shrouded in a mist.'

Opening the debate, local government minister Nick Raynsford insisted no council would face funding cuts next year under the new system. He argued there was no agenda to shift resources from one part of the country to another.

He said: 'No authority will face a cut in grant next year on a like-for-like basis. For avoidance of doubt that does not include inflation, but it will cushion councils against the immediate impact, not just of the new formula but also other changes such as the new population figures from the census.'
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