HC Deb 20 June 1966 vol 730 cc240-3

[Queen's Recommendation signified]

Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 88 (Money Committees).

[Mr. GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make further provision, in relation to Scotland, with respect to the payment of grants to local authorities, valuation and rating, local authority expenditure and the classification and lighting of highways, and for other purposes, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of:—

  1. (1) an increase in respect of the year 1966–67 (not exceeding £700,000) in the aggregate amount of general grants payable to local authorities under the Local Government and Miscellaneous Financial Provisions (Scotland) Act 1958;
  2. (2) grants to local authorities, for the year 1967–68 and each subsequent year, of an amount equal to the aggregate amount which the Secretary of State determines is to be available for that year for the payment of grants (other than housing subsidies) to local authorities out of such moneys, reduced by such portion of that aggregate amount as the Secretary of State estimates will be allocated to grants in respect of such services provided by local authorities as he may determine;
  3. (3) the expenses of the Secretary of State incurred under the said Act in paying:—
    1. (a) grants to local authorities in connection with the development or redevelopment of land, the use of land as a public open space or the reclamation or improvement of derelict, neglected or unsightly land;
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    3. (b) grants to local authorities in respect of expenditure on staff which is attributable to the presence in their areas of immigrants from the Commonwealth,
    not exceeding in the case of grants mentioned in paragraph (a) above, one-half of the amount which, under the provisions of the said Act or under section 89(4) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1947, is or is treated as, or as costs incurred on account of, expenditure in respect of which the grants may be paid;
  4. (4) any expenses incurred under the said Act by the Secretary of State in connection with his power as highway authority to provide lighting for the purposes of any road or proposed road;
  5. (5) any administrative expenses incurred under the said Act by the Secretary of State; and
  6. (6) any increase attributable to the provisions of the said Act in the sums payable out of such moneys under any other Act.—[Mr. MacDermot.]

1.14 a.m.

Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)

As I see the Secretary of State for Scotland in his place, and knowing his great interest in the drafting of Money Resolutions and the explanation of them, I should like to put a short question to him on this one.

Paragraphs (1) to (4) appear to cover almost everything that can give rise to expenditure under the Bill. Then, in paragraph (5), we find that there is an additional provision, and "the said Act" there referred to must be the 1958 Act. Paragraph (5) is to cover any administrative expenses incurred under the said Act by the Secretary of State". That would appear to cover anything that can arise under the Bill.

I should like to ask him whether he foresees any administrative expenses arising, as provided for in paragraph (5), or whether it is simply playing for safety.

Then we come to paragraph (6), and here provision is made for any increase attributable to the provisions of the said Act in the sums payable out of such moneys under any other Act. It is this which I find difficult to follow, because if there is an increase attributable to the 1958 Act, it is to be payable under the terms of any other Act. Can the right hon. Gentleman say what this is intended to cover, and can he give any examples of the kind of situation which could arise and which could cause expenditure under this paragraph?

1.16 a.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Dr. J. Dickson Mahon)

These questions are all related to road lighting, and the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) has referred to paragraphs 5 and 6. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Bill seeks to give the Secretary of State power which he has not had up to now to provide lighting on trunk roads and to spend money for this purpose. The amount is to be £100,000 in the financial year 1967–68, and the administrative expenses are not likely to be substantial.

The hon. Gentleman will remember that Part III seeks to classify roads in a different way.

Mr. G. Campbell

I think that the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. Paragraph 4 deals with road lighting, while paragraphs 5 and 6 seem to be general to cover any other subjects which might arise under the Bill.

Dr. Mabon

To some extent that is true, but one of the principal matters arising here is in Part III in relation to road lighting and the reclassification of roads. There are bound to be administrative expenses—although I am assured that they will not be substantial—in the work of reclassifying Class 1 roads and perhaps even Class 2 roads as principal roads, and, conversely, reclassifying some Class 1 roads as Class 2 roads.

Some extra work will result from the introduction of new grants.

With regard to the actual increase in grant under other Acts, paragraph 6 provides that any increase attributable to the provisions of the said Act in the sums payable out of such monies under any other Act. Although this relates largely to additional highways grant for which Part III of the Bill provides, this is becoming payable because Clause 23 (5) brings road lighting within the scope of the Development and Road Improvement Funds Act, 1909, under which highway grants are payable. The new capital grant for lighting may amount to £100,000 in 1967–68, and it does not count against the aggregate Exchequer assistance determined under Clause 1. I hope that that satisfies the hon. Gentleman that the Financial Resolution is worthy of his support.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported.

Report to be received this day.