Rate Support Grant (Wales)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:13 pm on 8th December 1987.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Roy Hughes Mr Roy Hughes , Newport East 4:13 pm, 8th December 1987

Does the Secretary of State realise that, after reading the document and listening to the exchanges this afternoon, I am struck by the fact that the Government have become masterly in the art of duplicity? Does he appreciate that my right hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) clearly brought out the fact that 11 per cent. is needed —according to the informal discussions that took place beforehand — to maintain existing services? The Secretary of State did not answer that point. Yet a package of £60 million less than what is required is presented as a sort of bonanza to our local authorities. I say to the hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan) that Clwyd in particular will suffer badly as a result of the settlement.

In addition, there is a restriction on our local authorities because if they attempt to redress the deficit by raising the rates they are penalised. They are put in a straitjacket by a Government who are supposed to believe in local decision making. Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that, when cuts are announced, it is local authorities which have to take the can back and the Government just wash their hands of the whole business?

Education buildings are deteriorating, children are being educated in a shabby environment and there is a shortage of books and other materials. These evil effects are equally calamitous for our old people. Surely that cannot be good for the future of our country. The Secretary of State is a newcomer to Wales, and I say especially to him that we are suffering from mass unemployment, let alone a housing crisis, which he, it seems, is beginning to recognise. In the years of this—