HC Deb 19 February 1903 vol 118 cc268-9

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the surplus under The Police Expenses Act, 1875, has, owing to the rate levied in each year being in excess of the requirements under the Act, risen from a sum of &358,462 on 31st March, 1893, to a sum of &696,488 on 31st March, 1902, and will he say why in these circumstances it is necessary to impose the maximum rate of 5d. on the local authorities; whether he will consider the advisability of reducing the amount of the rate levied from the local authorities of the Metropolis, so as to prevent any further surplus being accumulated; and of making the financial year for the police rate run concurrently with the Local Government financial year, viz., from the 1st April to 31st March, and to arrange for the police rate warrants being paid in four quarterly instalments, viz., on the 9th May, 9th August, 9th November, and 9th February in each year instead of as at present.

(Answered by Mr. Akers Douglas.) The Act quoted in the Question is not now in force, having been repealed in 1893. The expenses of the Metropolitan Police are defrayed out of an annual sum which may not, by the Police Rate Act, 1868, exceed 9d. in the pound on the full annual value of all property rateable for the relief of the poor. The rate of 9d. is now levied, and, allowing for contributions from the Local Taxation Account, the rate drawn from the local authorities amounts to about 5d. I do not think that an investigation of the figures quoted in the Question shows that the rate levied is in excess of the requirements. The sum of &696,488, referred to as a surplus, was a balance which, after the deduction (to which it was subject) of &139,680 due to the Pension Fund Account, was found inadequate (even allowing for all receipts subsequent to the 31st March) to meet the actual charges on the Police Fund up to the 10th August, when the next halfyearly rate warrants were payable. Moreover, the excess of receipts over expenditure for the whole year ended 31st March, 1902, did not exceed &28,960, and there does not therefore appear to be room for a reduction of the rate. As regards the last part of the Question, I do not at present see sufficient ground for taking steps to alter the present procedure in regard to the police rate warrants.