§ 15. Mr. Denville
asked the Minister of Health whether, in the case of State assist- 279 ance to local authorities to enable them to carry on in war-time, such assistance will be by way of gift or of loan, and, if the latter, at what rate of interest; and whether he can give details as to what has been done in other directions or what it is proposed to do?
§ Mr. E. Brown
I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 5th September last, in which it was indicated that assistance to local authorities needing it would take the form of advances free of interest, the Government retaining the right to call for repayment after the war in the light of the financial circumstances then obtaining, both in the areas interested and in the country generally. Directions have also been issued, under powers conferred by Defence Regulation, to reduce the amount payable under county council precepts by local authorities to which advances are being made.
§ 20. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the growing financial difficulties of local authorities arising from war-time circumstances and the anomalies as between one authority and another that have given rise to resentment and inequitable financial burden, in certain areas, he proposes to consider the whole problem with a view to easing these burdens and securing a greater measure of financial equality among local authorities?
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does the right hon. Gentleman not hold out any hope for special consideration of this urgent problem? Is he not aware that many local authorities are disturbed about the position?
§ Sir Adam Maitland
In view of the number of Questions dealing with this and similar matters which have been put on the Order Paper, would the Minister consider holding a comprehensive inquiry into the whole subject?
§ Sir A. Maitland
Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the subject is of such importance and is so widespread that there ought to be an immediate inquiry?