HC Deb 12 April 1888 vol 324 cc1041-2
MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House a Statement showing separately for the Metropolis the effect of the financial proposals of the Government, giving, on the one hand, the ascertained or estimated proportions of the various taxes to be handed over to the new London County Authority, and, on the other hand, the cost of the services which will have to be borne by it in future, and showing the probable balance in relief of the Metropolitan Rates?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

This is one of several Questions put to me publicly and privately with reference to the financial results of the Bill individually and collectively, and I hope I may be allowed to give a somewhat general answer on the whole question thus raised. I have to say that it is quite impossible to give any information of such a kind as that sought for which could be regarded as in any degree reliable as a guide to the ultimate financial results to individual counties or areas within counties, for the following reasons:—First, the Licence Duties to be transferred are collected in what are called "collections;" and there is no statement obtainable showing the amounts collected separately in the boroughs and other areas within counties. This is with reference to the existing Licence Duties; but as to the proposed new duties, there is no possibility of forming any reliable estimate of the amount to be obtained from particular districts, Further, if it were possible to obtain any approximate estimate of the amounts at present collected, that would be a very insufficient guide as to what amounts will be collected when the Bill comes into operation, and it becomes the interest of those who require the licences to take them out in particular localities. The financial proposals in the Bill have not been based on estimated results in particular areas, but on general principles, which we believe to be sound. What will be the effect in particular areas can only be ascertained by experience.