HC Deb 30 April 1957 vol 569 cc10-2
17 and 18. Mr. Finlay

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) if, taking into account the special financial problems following the development of the new towns, in the areas of which the local authorities have to provide over a short period the full range of services which in older towns have been built up over many years at much lower levels of cost, he will cause these problems to receive particular consideration in the course of the current review of local government finance;

(2) if he will introduce a weighting factor enabling extra finance to be granted in respect of the planned expansion of new towns in county areas taking into account that the full range of services has to be provided over a short period.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Mr. Henry Brooke)

I have arranged for this to be taken into consideration in the detailed discussions now in progress with the local authorities.

Mr. Finlay

I am very much obliged for that reply, but will my right hon. Friend also cause to be taken into consideration the fact that not only do the post-war costs of these new towns create problems but that there is a peculiar age structure there, that there is a superabundance of children which, coupled with those towns' extremely rapid growth, causes special financial burdens for the inhabitants of those areas?

Mr. Brooke

The Working Party is at the moment making a very special study of all questions of local government finance. I am sure that it will take account of anything which is said in this House, such as what has been said by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Shinwell

Would the right hon. Gentleman also see that in this inquiry attention is paid to the high rents paid by the tenants in the new towns, particularly in the new town of Peterlee in my constituency, which impose very heavy burdens on the tenants?

Mr. Brooke

I am familiar with the position in Peterlee, but I think I have given what should be to both sides of the House a satisfying answer to the original Question.

Mr. Mitchison

Would not the right hon. Gentleman, having answered Question No. 17, also answer Question No. 18? Or perhaps I missed his Answer?

Mr. Brooke

I was answering them both together.

Mr. Mitchison

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is going to introduce a weighting factor enabling extra finance to be granted in respect of the matters mentioned in Question No. 18?

Mr. Brooke

The hon. and learned Gentleman may not remember, but some years ago the Edwards Committee suggested that a weighting factor should be introduced. The Working Party is now going over that ground again, and will take into consideration everything said by the Edwards Committee in the light of modern facts and figures, and then advise me.