HC Deb 27 March 1956 vol 550 cc1964-5
41. Commander Maitland

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what progress has been made in the Government inquiry into the financial structure of local government; and if he will make a statement.

49. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will extend the derating provisions of the Local Government Act, 1929, to theatres and music halls.

53. Dr. King

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether, in view of the representations which he hay received from a group of county borough treasurers, he will now revise the Exchequer equalisation grant formula, and abolish industrial derating.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

The review of local government finance, which I announced earlier, is now well under way. Meanwhile, I do not wish to make statements on particular aspects of this problem.

Commander Maitland

While I fully understand my right hon. Friend's desire not to make statements on particular aspects of this matter, does he realise the considerable anxiety of local authorities, particularly those which have had difficulties in revaluation, that a statement should be made as soon as possible? Will he give an assurance that there will be no possible delay in this matter?

Mr. Sandys

There will be no avoidable delay.

Mr. Jeger

In his consideration of this matter, does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that theatres and music halls, particularly those outside the West End of London, fulfil all the requirements and conditions for which the 1929 Act came before the House?

Mr. Blenkinsop

When considering this matter, will the Minister bear in mind the Private Member's Bill which was passed in the House only recently on this subject?

Mr. Sandys

It has not escaped my notice.

Mr. Wade

Is the Minister aware that county boroughs such as Huddersfield, which previously received nothing from the Exchequer equalisation fund and which now receive a grant, nevertheless acknowledge that there is need to revise the formula? Is he aware that there is widespread agreement that industrial de-rating is quite illogical?

Mr. Sandys

The hon. Member will not expect me to anticipate the result of the review.

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