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Mr. Davey: The Minister is talking about the resources that might become available to deal with the problem. I am sure that she is aware that local authorities--whether in Reading or in Kingston--want to tackle the problem, and they need resources to ensure that they have the necessary full-time officials to track down the abandoned vehicles, to liaise with the DVLA and to ensure that those vehicles are taken off the streets. Will she consider that matter as part of the resource analysis that the Department is undertaking?
Ms Hughes: I am certainly not going to put on my other hat and be drawn into a discussion of the local government settlement. I remind the hon. Gentleman of the very significant increases that all local authorities have received from the Government during the previous three years, and will receive in the forthcoming three years as a result of the spending review. Although I recognise that such problems involve spending pressures, all local authorities have pressures of one kind or another, and they must decide how to spend their money. The best help that we can give them is to facilitate the process as much as we can by changing the legislation or the procedures so that they are not so lengthy and time-consuming. I accept the main point that the hon. Gentleman makes--that for local authorities to undertake extensive searches for owners while the vehicles are still on the streets certainly not only takes a long time, but involves local authority resources, which are all too precious.