§ 31. Mr. Gourlay
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland which local authorities in the financial year 1962–63 1419 were in receipt of Exchequer equalisation, and or general grants which represented 33.3 per cent. or less of their relevant local expenditure; and what was the highest percentage a local authority received in grant in relation to its local relevant expenditure.
§ Mr. Gourlay
Does the Secretary of State recall that on 8th July he told me that £477,000 of Exchequer grant had been returned from Scottish local authorities? Is he really proud to be the first Secretary of State to filch nearly £½ million of grant from Scottish authorities and return it to the Treasury? Is he further aware that the anomalies created by the revaluation in 1961 affected Kirkcaldy and Dumbarton, as well as Millport and the other town he mentioned, quite considerably? Will he take steps to ensure that the assessors in Scotland have consultations before the next revaluation in order to agree on a uniform base line on which to operate the new valuation, and thus remove the unjust anomalies of the last base line?
§ Mr. Noble
I know that the hon. Gentleman appreciates the fact that it is not the duty of the Secretary of State to interfere directly with the revaluations, and I know his particular feeling about the problem of Kirkcaldy. As for the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, the money was not stolen back by me; the local authorities concerned decided not to put up their rents in accordance with the wishes of the House of Commons, and therefore lost the money.
§ Mr. Gourlay
But is it not the fact that £½ million has been sent back to the Treasury which was already attracted to Scotland? The right hon. Gentleman is prepared to send it back.