Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Does the Secretary of State agree that what we want is an audit system that does not equate amounts of money with outcomes without proper testing of that? We seem to have an audit system that says, “This council spends twice as much as that council, so it must be twice as good.” We want to know what we get for the extra money.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Eric Pickles): My right hon. Friend makes a reasonable point. The audit regime is just part of the process of transparency; the publication of amounts above £500 and the right to be able to see what the council is doing increase the opportunity for the taxpayer, the voter and the local press to investigate.