HC Deb 19 February 1997 vol 290 c583W
Mr. Nigel Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which 10 local councils in England have the highest budget deficits. [16158]

Sir Paul Beresford

All local authorities are required to set balanced budgets, taking into account the amount of financial reserves that they estimate they will use in the year to finance expenditure. The following authorities budgeted to draw down the highest amounts from reserves in 1996–97:

Budgeted use of reserves 1996–97
City of London 41,343
Hampshire 35,375
Metropolitan Police Authority 26,519
Staffordshire 21,002
Berkshire 18,474
Cheshire 18,000
Birmingham 17,658
Kent 17,088
Hereford and Worcester 16,020
Hertfordshire 15,410

Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he has made of the total amount of local authority debt and local authority unused capital receipts in (i) 1985, (ii) 1990 and (iii) the latest year for which figures are available. [16162]

Sir Paul Beresford

The amounts outstanding at 31 March each year were:

Total debt £ billion Usable capital receipts£ billion
1985 31.6 n/a
1990 41.2 2.4
1996 37.6 1.1


Debt: DOE borrowing and lending surveys and Public Works Loan Board.

Capital receipts

capital outturn returns.

The total debt figures include both long term and short-term borrowing; £4.5 billion of local authority debt, mainly amounts borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board, was commuted by the Government in 1992.

Figures for the amounts of set-aside capital receipts are not available. These form part of the provision for credit liabilities, which also includes amounts set aside from revenue. It is not possible to give figures for usable capital receipts for years before 1990, when a different capital finance system was in operation.