Financial Statistics

Oral Answers to Questions — Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1965.

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Photo of Mr James Allason Mr James Allason , Hemel Hempstead 12:00 am, 29th June 1965

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will revise Local Government Financial Statistics 1962–63, presented to Parliament in February, 1965, to take account of the latest information.

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

The Local Government Financial Statistics 1962–63 summarised the final accounts of local authorities for that year; thus no question of revision arises. The accounts for 1963–64 are now being tabulated, and will be published as soon as possible.

Photo of Mr James Allason Mr James Allason , Hemel Hempstead

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his colleague the Joint Parliamentary Secretary gave a figure of £15 million for rateborne expenditure when he spoke on rates on 5th May? Is it not extremely important that really accurate figures should be quoted to this House, in view of the great importance of rate-borne expenditure, and its relation one year with another?

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

There tend to be accounting differences in the figures as they appear in local authority accounts and as they are paid out by us, but I quite agree that the more quickly the accounts are published the better.

Photo of Mr James Allason Mr James Allason , Hemel Hempstead

But is it not important to have one series of figures, so that one year can be compared with another? A difference of £15 million is really rather excessive.

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

I am afraid that in local government statistics, as in other statistics, difficult discrepancies often appear that have to be reconciled before the full value of the figures can be assessed.