HC Deb 09 December 1970 vol 808 cc400-1
22. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to make a statement on public expenditure on the prevention of pollution.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)

Expenditure for this purpose has been growing at an increasing rate and is expected to continue to grow. The Annual White Paper on Public Expenditure is expected to be published in January.

Mr. Marks

Has the expenditure by local authorities on the prevention of pollution during the coming financial year been taken into account in the negotiations for the rate support grant?

Mr. Griffiths

Yes, and I can only say again to the hon. Gentleman that if he will await the annual White Paper on public expenditure more will be made clear to him then.

Mr. Charles Morris

Is the Minister aware, in the area of political darkness on the benches opposite, that many local authorities feel let down in their battle to prevent atmospheric pollution by the fact that they have been obliged to abandon smoke control areas? Will he consider giving financial reimbursement to local authorities involved in additional expenditure as a result?

Mr. Griffiths

I find it strange that, coming from that side of the House, there should be any suggestion that the shortage of smokeless fuel, which we all very much regret, should be laid at the door of this Administration. On the contrary, my right hon. Friend has taken considerable steps to mitigate the damage. I recognise the question which the hon. Gentleman asks. If he will put it down separately, I shall answer it. But I will not take from him any castigations on this subject.