§ SIR HENRY HUSSEY VIVIAN
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether it is a fact that no contribution will be made by Government in respect of police and other charges for which grants were made to Local Authorities, before the passing of the Local Government Act, for the period between the 29th September, 1888, and the 1st of April, 1889, but that the payment of such contributions will be thrown on the County Councils, although they will not be entitled to receive the proceeds of the taxes transferred to them for the above-named period, being only entitled to such proceeds from and after the 1st April, 1889; if so, out of what funds the County Councils are to pay the arrears which will thus be entailed upon them by the transfer to them of a liability which ought to have been met by the Government; and, whether he will move the Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide, by a Supplemental Vote or otherwise, for the payment to Local Authorities of all sums due by the Government between the 29th September, 1888, and the 1st April, 1889, so that the County Councils may commence their administration of local finance without being burdened with a debt which accrued before they came into existence?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. LONG,) Wilts, Devizes
Questions to the like effect of this have on several occasions been answered during the present Session. No contribution will be made by the Government in respect of police and other charges for which grants were made to Local Authorities before the passing of the Local Government Act for the period between the 29th of September, 1888, and the 1st of April, 1889, and it will devolve on the County Councils to make the payments in substitution for the Parliamentary grant which otherwise would have been payable during the current year. The County Councils have had ceded to them certain License Duties and Probate Duty for the purpose of enabling them to meet the charges in respect of discon- 1695 tinued grants which, if they had not been discontinued, would have been paid by the Government during the present financial year. It has always necessarily been the case that the grants have been paid in a financial year subsequent to that in which a portion of the expenditure has been incurred; and no claim will fall upon the County Councils on account of discontinuing grants in the present year, which, if the grants had been continued, would not have been a charge on the current year. No charge will therefore fall upon the County Councils which ought to have been met by the Government, and for the reasons already mentioned the payments in question are not in the nature of arrears. Under the circumstances, it appears to be obvious that the Government cannot undertake, whilst they cede revenues in the current year in substitution for discontinued grants, to also pay the grants in respect of which the revenue has been ceded.