HC Deb 03 August 1965 vol 717 cc1258-9
19. Mr. Grant

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost in a full year of transferring the payment of teachers' salaries to the Exchequer.

Mr. MacDermot

That part of the cost of teachers' salaries and superannuation which is not already borne by the Exchequer now amounts to about £230 million in a full year.

Mr. Grant

In thanking the Financial Secretary for that figure, which is a considerable sum, may I ask whether he does not agree that the transfer of part, perhaps, of this figure to the Exchequer would be a way of bringing to the ratepayers the early relief that the Government promised during the last election?

Mr. MacDermot

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government said in the Supply Committee debate on 5th May, the Government intend to make changes in the system of local government finance but they will be more radical than the simple transfer of this part of the cost of teachers' salaries to the Exchequer. I must ask the hon. Member to await the Government's proposals on this matter.

Mr. William Hamilton

Can my hon. and learned Friend give an estimate of what the complete transfer of this burden would represent in terms of increases in Income Tax? Would it not be a sound idea to offset this by taking back the £83 million Surtax concession which the previous Government gave to those who were earning over £5,000 a year?

Mr. MacDermot

The total cost would be the figure which I have given—£230 million—because the rest is being borne by the Exchequer through the medium of the various systems of grants.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Arising from the hon. and learned Gentleman's reply to my hon. Friend and his quotation from the Minister of Housing and Local Government, is it not a fact that the Labour Party manifesto, apart from promising general changes in organisation, promised early relief to ratepayers? When are we to see this?

Mr. MacDermot

The right hon. Gentleman must await the proposals.