HC Deb 10 March 1949 vol 462 cc1387-8
43. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has approved the increase of 5¼d. in the Metropolitan police rate; how much the additional precept will produce; and for what purposes the increase is required.

Mr. Ede

Yes, Sir. The increase on police account is 5d., producing £1,900,000. This is needed to meet the higher cost of a larger force, necessary arrears of building work, provision of a new type of uniform, and the restoration of balances which are being depleted during the current year to the extent of a 2d. rate. The ¼d. is in respect of probation and is raised only in the Metropolitan boroughs, producing about £50,000.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is my right hon. Friend really satisfied that it is necessary to impose a 2d. rate merely for the sake of replenishing various balances? As the local authorities in London are in a position much inferior to county boroughs generally, will he consider some form of consultation with the local authorities prior to fixing the Metropolitan police rate?

Mr. Ede

I am convinced that the balances must be restored. I expected at the commencement of the financial year that the balances would fall by £500,000, but as a matter of fact, owing to increased expenditure they fell by £800,000. It is necessary to have an adequate working balance. With regard to the last part of the question, as I am responsible for the Metropolitan Police to this House, I cannot agree to consult anyone before I submit the Estimates to the House which clearly has the first-right to know about them. I have promised a deputation of representatives of the Metropolitan boroughs and of the local authorities in the outer ring of the Metropolitan police district, after the Estimates are submitted, that I shall be prepared to meet them to explain any items about which they may wish to have information.

Captain Crookshank

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how big are the balances and what is the need for having them so very high?

Mr. Ede

The reason for having them very high is the fact that £3 million of the rates comes in only during the months of February and March and in consequence it is necessary to have a balance to enable me to carry on during the period. By the end of the year the balance in hand will be £1,300,000.

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