HC Deb 21 May 1957 vol 570 cc1025-6
36. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware of the lack of interest taken gener- ally in civic affairs as indicated by the small percentage of votes cast at the recent municipal elections throughout the country; and if he will consider taking steps to stimulate this interest by the payment of a sum in addition to the block grant to all authorities where the percentage at the polls is above a given figure.

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

I congratulate the hon. Member on his ingenious suggestion. But areas so well administered that elections are uncontested would seemingly, under his plan, be non-starters for additional grant.

Mr. Awbery

May I take it from the Minister's Answer that he agrees about the apathy shown in the country and the necessity for creating some further interest? If he cannot accept the proposal contained in the Question, can he say whether he is giving the matter consideration? Has he any other proposals to make which will create an interest in our civic life?

Mr. Brooke

I quite agree that the low polls recorded at many local elections do credit to nobody. With respect to the hon. Member, however, I doubt whether anything could be worked out on the lines of his suggestion, but I am always willing to consider any proposals for arousing greater interest in local elections.