HC Deb 17 December 1969 vol 793 cc1344-5
41. Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what further representations he has had from local authorities regarding his offer to meet part of the cost of remedial work and other expenditure incurred in strengthening multi-storey blocks of flats.

Mr. Ross

At a meeting with my noble Friend the Minister of State the local authorities concerned asked for a higher rate of grant than 40 per cent. and made representations about the method of calculating the expenditure eligible for grant. I hope to announce a decision shortly.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

When will the right hon. Gentleman make an announcement on this? Does not he realise that certain local authorities face very high costs? Will he give an assurance that he will limit the amount that will be passed on to the ratepayer?

Mr. Ross

What the hon. Member says is true, but he and many others who sit with him are constantly telling me about Government expenditure. I hope that he will support us when we make increases. I appreciate the difficulties, but we are in consultation on the matter and I shall make a decision as soon as I can.

Mr. Dempsey

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the Coatbridge Town Council suffers very badly from the 60–40 per cent. ratio, in view of the high-rise flats in the town which have had to be strengthened? Can he say whether the announcement that he will make shortly will be of a much more generous contribution than the 40 per cent. that has been contributed hitherto?

Mr. Ross

I am afraid that I cannot anticipate the announcement that I shall make.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that this is not a question of increasing public expenditure? This must be paid for either out of local expenditure or central expenditure.

Mr. Ross

I accept that.