asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what proportion of the Hertfordshire rate expenditure has been met by the general grant during each of the past five years; what proportion is estimated to be met by the general grant during the current year; and what proportion is forecast for next year.
When the hon. Gentleman studies the figures I ask him to appreciate that, whilst the proportion of rate expenditure met by general grant in the country as a whole has remained absolutely stable, the proportion so met in rapidly expanding counties has greatly diminished. Will he bear in mind that, if this trend continues, by 1970 Hertfordshire will have fallen £3 million behind other counties, which is the equivalent of a 1s. rate? Will he consider giving a special weighting factor for rapidly expanding counties?
Will the Joint Parliamentary Secretary confirm that the figures he is about to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT represent approximately a 1 per cent. decrease regularly every year as compared with 55·1 per cent., which is the national average?
Following is the answer:Rate expenditure is taken as expenditure that would be met from rates, assuming that there were no general grant. On that basis the proportion of general grant to Hertfordshire County Council's rate expenditure is as follows: 48·4 per cent. in 1959–60, 47·4 per cent. in 1960–61, 46·7 per cent. in 1961–62, 45·3 per cent. in 1962–63, 45·9 per cent. in 1963–64. Comparable figures for later years are not available, and I can make no forecast of the Council's expenditure for next year.