HC Deb 02 December 1970 vol 807 cc1258-9
4. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give estimates of the level of rate support grant for Scottish local authorities in 1971–72.

The Under-Secretary of State for Development, Scottish Office (Mr. George Younger)

My right hon. Friend will be laying a rate support grant Order for the next two years before the House in due course.

Mr. Douglas

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply, but will he admit that rates cannot be regarded as a buoyant source of local authority finance and that they will not meet the needs of local authority expansion in the latter decades of the twentieth century? Finally, will he ask his right hon. Friend not to go on B.B.C. television or anywhere else to contradict two days later replies given in the House on the subject of local authority finances?

Mr. Younger

On the first point, the question of different forms of local government finance and the raising of it is under consideration at the moment, as the hon. Gentleman knows, and the findings will be published in due course. As for his second observation, I was not privileged to see my right hon. Friend's television appearance, but I am told that it was extremely successful.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker

Can my hon. Friend say whether the Secretary of State has any plans for altering the formula on which the rate support grant is disbursed?

Mr. Younger

We are still considering the exact form of this year's rate support grant Order, but it will be based on the usual formula.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Is the domestic element to be cut from the 10d. it has been under the previous Government, and to what figure?

Mr. Younger

There is no such proposal. In any case, that would be a matter for consideration in the course of drawing up the Order.