Local Government Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:47 pm on 16th December 1981.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Ross Mr Stephen Ross , Isle of Wight 3:47 pm, 16th December 1981

Does the right hon. Gentleman fully appreciate that while there is a duty on all responsible local authorities to try to co-operate with central Government, whatever Government are in power, he has been stretching to the limits the patience of those who have been trying to do so over the last few years? What will happen to those authorities faced with great expenditure incurred last weekend, through damage to sea walls and suchlike, which will come out of revenue expenditure and which will take them above the level of volume targets at which they are to be penalised? Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to be fair and reasonable in relation to the present financial year? Does he appreciate that it was a previous Conservative Administration that in 1974 reformed local government, following which there was a huge expansion of bureaucracy? Does he not agree that the fault lies with the previous Conservative Administration?