Oral Answers to Questions — Local Government (Additional Services)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1975.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Nelson Mr Anthony Nelson , Chichester 12:00 am, 7th May 1975

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give an estimate of the cost to public expenditure of the additional services to be introduced by local government to which he has recently referred.

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

I do not know what services the hon. Member has in mind, but I do not expect local authorities to undertake any new duties under existing legislation except by reallocation of existing resources.

Photo of Mr Anthony Nelson Mr Anthony Nelson , Chichester

How does the Minister reconcile successive Government circulars calling on local authorities to spend more with the need for overall economy? How, for example, does he reconcile the circular on housing, which calls on local authorities to provide conversions and new mobile and extendable homes, with the Government's intention to tighten advances for improvement grants?

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

Those circulars ask for restraint. Housing is dealt with separately, as I said in reply to a previous Question. In the December circular we made it clear to local authorities that, as my right hon. Friend has just told the House, the Government would restrain requests to local authorities and ask them to restrain their expenditure, in contradistinction to what happened under the previous Conservative Government.