General Grant

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 Lord  Balniel Lord Balniel , Hertford 12:00 am, 29th June 1965

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.

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

As the noble Lord knows, this matter is being considered as part of the Government's examination of local government finance. I must ask him to await the outcome.

Photo of Lord  Balniel Lord Balniel , Hertford

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?

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

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.

Photo of Mr James Allason Mr James Allason , Hemel Hempstead

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?

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

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.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

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?

Photo of Mr James MacColl Mr James MacColl , Widnes

The financial arrangements for Greater London largely spring from legislation passed by the previous Government.