HC Deb 06 December 1966 vol 737 cc1127-8
16. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government in view of the fact that the Royal Commission on Local Government will not now report until the winter of 1968, what steps he is taking to alleviate the rate burden, particularly in seaside areas with little industry.

Mr. Greenwood

I invite the attention of the hon. Member to the help given by provisions of the Rating Act, 1966, and the Local Government Bill.

Mr. Ridsdale

As the rate increase is likely to be anything up to 10 per cent. next year, will the Minister say now that any increase above the almost zero norm of the First Secretary of State will be referred at once to the Prices and Incomes Board? Why should we have one law for the rent payer and another for the ratepayer?

Mr. Greenwood

It is impossible to judge individual cases of that kind. The hon. Gentleman should bear in mind that all areas which have below average rate resources per head of population receive substantial financial help from the Government. For example, Harwich is receiving help to the extent of about one-third of its expenditure and Brightlingsea to the extent of about 40 per cent., so the hon. Gentleman has no real ground of complaint whatever.

Mr. Rippon

Does not the Minister recognise that in their election pledges the Government said that they would transfer the larger part of teachers' salaries to the Exchequer? Does he realise that, if they had given the relief they promised, there would be no question next Year of these rate increases of 10 percent.?


larger part is borne by the Exchequer.

Mr. Rippon

What about the promised transfer of more?

Mr. Hall-Davis

Will the Minister consider raising the relief limits under the Rating Act in view of the exceptional circumstances which will prevail next spring?

Mr. Greenwood

Not at this stage of the legislation.