Does my hon. Friend agree that if there are to be any cuts they should be made in the number of chief executives and not of dustmen? Does he further agree that the huge bureaucracy created by the Conservative reorganisation of local government has been astronomical in cost and has played a major part in hampering the recovery of the British economy?
There is a great deal to be said for the Chiefs and Indians argument which my hon. Friend has put forward today and on other occasions. My view is that local government reorganisation did not help to make local government either more efficient or cheaper.
Is the Minister aware that we on this Bench do not accept that there should be any reduction in public expenditure in Wales, particularly on housing and social services? Will he ensure that local authorities in Wales are aware of the needs of their areas and the need for public expenditure?
The hon. Gentleman likes to refer to cuts, but I remind him that the July measures, which involved cuts in Wales of £12 million, were accompanied by an increase in expenditure on housing in Wales of £20 million. Therefore, the net effect was a gain—not a loss—for Wales in public expenditure terms.
Will the Minister confirm that, contrary to recent newspaper reports, on a population basis Wales gets a fair share of the rate support grant, her population being 5·6 per cent. of the total for England and Wales and the amount of rate support grant received by Wales in 1976–77 being 7·4 per cent. of the total?