98. Miss WARD
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that no estimate is available for the cost to local authorities of public assistance from 1st October to 31st March to those persons who will come under Part II of the Unemployment Insurance Act on the appointed day, he will state on what basis he is negotiating a settlement with the representatives of the English local authorities?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
The basis of the settlement which has now been reached with local authorities in England and Wales as well as in Scotland is that they shall be placed, as nearly as can be ascertained, in the same position financially as they would have occupied had the date of the appointed day remained fixed at the 1st March.
In view of the fact that no figures were available on Thursday last when valuable concessions were 1727 granted to local authorities, may I ask whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer is usually in the habit of granting concessions without having the necessary information as to the cost to the Treasury?
§ 51. Mr. LOGAN
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, when negotiating with representatives of associations of English local authorities the financial assistance to be given to such authorities by reason of the postponement of the second appointed day, under the Unemployment Act, 1934, he will keep in mind such authorities as the county borough of Bootle where it will be necessary to levy a rate in respect of public assistance equal to 61.15 per cent. of the total rate, as compared with a rate equal to 55.83 per cent. of the total rate had the second appointed day not been cancelled; and whether, in order to assist such authorities when budgeting for the coming financial year, he will indicate the probable date when he will announce the extent of such financial assistance and the date to be fixed as the second appointed day?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, a settlement has now been reached after full discussion with representatives of the associations of local authorities and the difficulty of budgeting to which he refers has presumably disappeared. I am not yet in a position to say when the second appointed day will be. I am unable to identify the particular figures he quotes as regards Bootle but perhaps I may comment that he appears to have compared the gross public assistance rate with the net total rate, i.e. he has taken no account of the substantial block grant which Bootle receives from the Exchequer in a form available as general revenue, and therefore operating to meet expenditure of all kinds.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes, and I was only pointing out that there are other figures which have to be taken into account.
§ Mr. CLEARY
Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate when he will be able to make a statement with regard to the second appointed day?