34. Mr. Mannel
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what communications he has received from Ayr County Council arising from the recommendations of the Radcliffe Report regarding borrowing by local authorities for capital works; and what was the nature of his reply to the county council.
The Council has, on several occasions, made representations in favour of the implementation of these recommendations of the Radcliffe Committee. A full reply was sent on 10th March this year on the lines of what I said on this subject in the debate on 26th November last.
§ Mr. Manuel
Is the Chancellor aware that this major local authority is very dissatisfied with the nature of his replies, and is completely unanimous in its support of the recommendations of the Radcliffe Report about borrowing by local authorities for capital development? Is he further aware that it feels itself to be very restricted now in its programme for capital works because of the impact of high interest charge on its local rates? Will he, in some measurable time ahead, reconsider this so that local authorities may get some encouragement to go ahead with schemes that have been hanging fire for a long time?
I am aware of the views of the local authority concerned which, I believe, the hon. Member has represented. As he knows, on several occasions I have given reasons to the House for the views I hold in this matter. Broadly, I cannot think it right that, with capital in short supply, local authorities should be insulated from the effects of current interest rates.