HC Deb 10 December 1953 vol 521 cc2154-5
26. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make arrangements to enable local authorities in the Metropolitan police area to examine the annual estimates of the Metropolitan police before such estimates are submitted to the House of Commons.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

No, Sir. It would not be proper for me to make the estimates available to local authorities before they are available to the House. It is, however, the practice for the Receiver to discuss the estimates with representatives of the Metropolitan boroughs and the outer London authorities after they have been published, and I have recently given instructions that the precept in the Metropolitan police district is in the ordinary course to be based on the Parliamentary estimates.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the estimates are sent out to local authorities without their having any opportunity whatsoever of expressing any view on the subject? Is he aware that the Metropolitan borough of Lambeth, for example, is called upon to pay £225,000 to the Metropolitan police without having any opportunity at all of expressing any view as to whether the sum is properly required or not?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I think that what I have said as to the discussions which the Receiver has after the estimates have been published goes some way to meet that point, and it is as a result of recent discussions that it has been agreed that the precept should be based on the Parliamentary estimate.

Mr. Gibson

In view of the fact that this is a sad case of taxation without representation will the right hon. and learned Gentleman at least consider the matter, because it is really a serious bone of contention in London? Cannot arrangements be made whereby the authorities may see the estimates before they are printed and published, so that they may have an opportunity of expressing views upon them?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I do not think that that would be in accordance with my duty to this House as Home Secretary and police authority, but if there are any further suggestions that can be made I shall be prepared to consider them.