HC Deb 18 February 1969 vol 778 cc197-9
20. Mr. Marks

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what was the rate support grant or its equivalent paid to Manchester for the years since 1962; and what is the estimated grant for 1969–70.

Mr. Skeffington

The estimated rate support grant payable to Manchester County Borough Council for 1969–70, including the domestic element, amounts to £17,039,719. The corresponding grants for 1962–63 amounted to £9,116,782. With permission, I will circulate particulars of those amounts and the amounts for the intervening years in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Marks

I am grateful for that information. Is my hon. Friend aware that, largely as a result of Government grants, the standard rate in Manchester will probably rise by less than 3 pet cent, this year and domestic ratepayers will have no rent increase thanks to the 1s. 3d. Government subsidy? Will my hon. Friend keep an eye on local authority estimates to ascertain whether they are spending the proportions on education and other services allowed for in the negotiations for the rate support grant?

Mr. Skeffington

I am very much aware that the contributions which the Government have made to local government throughout the country have made a substantial contribution to keeping rates steady or in some cases leading to a reduction. I hope that this fact will be widely known and that credit will be attributed where it belongs. With regard to rate support for education, it is true that the estimated expenditure taken into account in fixing the rate support grant allows for an increase of about 3¾ per cent. in real terms for 1969–70. It is hoped that local authorities will take full advantage of the financial provision made.

Mr. L. M. Lever

Is the Minister aware that Manchester is in a transitional building stage in which it is losing considerable rateable value and we are transferring thousands of tenants, who would attract rateable value, outside our area? Will the Minister see to it that Manchester is sustained from a grants point of view because of our impending difficulties?

Mr. Skeffington

My right hon. Friend is, of course, well aware of some of the special difficulties of Manchester, as of other parts of the conurbations. This is something which we always try to take into account.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that he is not doling out Labour money but taxpayers' money? In assessing what has been achieved in Manchester will he give some credit to the Conservative elected council?

Mr. Skeffington

I am sure the House appreciates what the hon. Member has said. This massive contribution the Government are making to local government finances has undoubtedly assisted in relieving the burden on ratepayers and comes from taxes, but I did not notice any energetic suggestion from the Opposition, when we brought the rate support

1962–63 1963–64 1964–65 1965–66
£ £ £ £
General grant 8,013,875 8,978,627 9,272,742 10,531,184
Rate deficiency grant Nil 1,075,451 927,732 965,341
Highways revenue grant* 39,740 103,812 71,465 55,587
School milk and meals 1,063,167 1,117,278 1,238,932 1,362,633
Rate support grant:
needs element
resources element
domestic element
£9,116,782 £11,275,168 £11,510,871 £12,914,745

Sources: Epitomes of accounts and Departmental records and grant claims.