HC Deb 06 April 1939 vol 345 cc2965-6
11. Mr. Craven-Ellis

asked the Minister of Health the total outstanding debt of all local authorities in the United Kingdom for 1938; the annual charges for interest and capital redemption; and what percentage do these two items, respectively, represent to the total average rate burden of the local authorities in the United Kingdom for the year 1938?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Elliot)

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

In view of the importance of this matter, may I ask if the right hon. Gentleman will carefully consider appointing a Royal Commission to consider the whole basis of local taxation?

Mr. Elliot

I do not think that arises out of the question.

Following is the answer:

The gross outstanding loan debt of all local authorities in England and Wales at the end of 1936–37, the latest year for which figures are available, was approximately £1,481,000,000; of this sum about £1,062,000,000 related to trading undertakings and housing, which to a large extent are productive services. The total amount of the loan charges included in the revenue accounts for 1936 –37 of local authorities in England and Wales was about £100,710,000 of which £57,740,000 represented payments of interest (including income tax thereon) and £42,970,000 the aggregate of repayments of principal and payments into sinking funds. These loan charges were met out of the general revenue income of the authorities for 1936 –37 which amounted in the aggregate to £503,090,000 and was made up of £172,837,000 from rates, £135,575,000 from Government grants and £194,678,000 from receipts of the authorities' trading undertakings, rents of houses, fees and miscellaneous items of income. The sums of £57,740,000 and £42,970,000 were equivalent to 11.4 per cent. and 8.5 per cent. respectively of the general revenue income. As regards Scotland and Northern Ireland, I would refer by hon. Friend to my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Home Affairs.