asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take steps to ensure that there is adequate recognition in deciding on the allocation of finance to area health authorities in Wales of sparsity of population, the impact of tourism and costs associated with elderly population migration.
Does the Minister appreciate that the Gwynedd area health authority does not accept that sufficient account is taken of these factors? The sparsity of clinics leads to high travelling costs and a high-cost ambulance service, for example, especially at a time when there is emphasis on bringing services into the community. No account is taken of the additional tourist population that moves into Gwynedd during the summer months. A consequence of the Government's policy is that the elderly are moving into old-age homes in Gwynedd. Private homes are being established as a result of Government policy, but no additional funds are being given to the health authority or local authorities to deal with the extra costs. Will the Minister think again?
I do not know what Gwynedd has to complain about. Gwynedd has seen more financial growth than any other Welsh authority since 1974. During the period 1974 to 1983 the Gwynedd health authority's recurrent revenue allocation has grown by 32·8 per cent. after making allowances for pay and price changes. This year it has already had further growth of 5·5 per cent. and another 2·6 per cent. is available. I have already told the hon. Gentleman that the revenue formula is weighted to take account of the age and sex structure of the populations served and of the relative costs of providing an ambulance service in rural areas. There is a special allowance for tourism.
Order. Members representing English constituencies have a right to ask questions when the House is dealing with Welsh questions, provided that they do not relate to Grantham.
Will my hon. Friend note that the special problems that arise in widely and sparsely populated areas are not confined to Welsh area health authorities? Similar problems arise in English counties, and those who represent English counties, such as Lincolnshire, would like to see the rate support grant take account of that fact.