asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware that under the present distribution formula the general grant contribution forms a diminishing proportion of the total budgets of rapidly expanding counties and that the situation will worsen next year; and if he will take steps to give financial assistance to such counties.
How much longer have we to wait? Can the hon. Gentleman give any indication at all when he is likely to introduce a new system of distribution? In particular, can he tell us when he proposes to implement his categoric and now laughable pledge to reduce the rates?
My right hon. Friend is at the moment working out the details of his proposals. He will, of course, have to consult the local authority associations before he finalises them and then he will present them to the House.
If, as the hon. Gentleman indicated in answer to a previous Question, a substantial amount of income is being lost through the present distribution of the general grant to counties with rapidly expanding populations, will he do something about it now rather than spin out the time before he has actually to take some action?
Since the last Government lamentably failed to do anything about improving the form of the general grant, the sensible thing for my right hon. Friend to do is to have a proper scheme worked out before trying to amend the old rules.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that under the present form of the general grant the 90,000 ratepapers of Bromley have to pay an extra £120,000 a year because of central charges put up by the Government since October?