HC Deb 07 July 1953 vol 517 cc1045-6
43. Mr. Hargreaves

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware that the city of Carlisle is losing £42,000 in rate income, representing a rate of 1s. 6d. in the £, through the partial derating of industrial hereditaments; and what reply has been given to the views expressed to him by the Association of Municipal Corporations supporting the setting up of a committee of inquiry to consider and report upon the full implications of Section 68 of the Local Government Act, 1929.

Mr. Marples

Derating naturally caused a loss of rate income to local authorities; but equalisation grant assists in so far as the local resources are, for this or any other reason, below the average; and Carlisle benefits under these arrangements. The views of the Association of Municipal Corporations have been noted.

Mr. Hargreaves

Will the hon. Gentleman inform the House what are the views of the Minister upon the proposal that has been made for an investigation into the effects of the Derating Act?

Mr. Marples

My right hon. Friend has appointed a Committee, which has just reported on the equalisation grants, and they have recommended what is in their opinion a fairer distribution of the Exchequer money than has formerly been the case. Derating did not come within their terms of reference, but I understand that the party opposite have come out categorically against derating for both industrial and agricultural purposes. I am not sure whether that is the unanimous view of the party opposite.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Minister aware that, even taking into account the advantages of the Equalisation Grant, many of the poorer boroughs, particularly those that were blitzed such as West Ham, find that they are far worse off with the Derating Act in operation, and will he not try to do something if only to help those poorer boroughs?

Mr. Marples

The West Ham Corporation, amongst others, received a block grant, to which the hon. Gentleman did not refer in his supplementary question.