HC Deb 21 April 1953 vol 514 cc792-3
20. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will hold an inquiry into the Scottish rating system and the finances of local government.

Commander Galbraith

The working of the Exchequer equalisation grant is already being investigated. The wider questions referred to by the hon. Member are being kept prominently in mind.

Mr. Manuel

That will not do.

Mr. Grimond

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the wider questions to which this Question is addressed are extremely urgent, that many local authorities are finding great difficulty in dealing with their finances at all, and for those in the Highlands who have a small rateable value the situation is serious and the Government should indicate quickly what action they will take?

Commander Galbraith

The Government will indicate it in due course.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Can the Joint Under-Secretary say whether the Scottish Office is considering reform of the Scottish rating system, as recommended in the Sorn Report, and in conjunction with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government?

Commander Galbraith

I have indicated that we are considering these matters.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

is the Minister aware that the need for an inquiry into the rating system is underlined by the latest estimates of Exchequer contributions to Scotland which show that Scotland will be receiving during the coming year only 10 per cent. of the total when the population proportion gives Scotland over 11 per cent.?

Mr. Stokes

In considering this matter, will the Joint Under-Secretary remember the number of anomalies which would be ruled out if he introduced a thoroughgoing rate on site values?