§ 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 1388 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.