HC Deb 03 April 1974 vol 871 c1246
14. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how the Preston District Council may be affected by changes in the rate support grant.

Mr. Oakes

The domestic rate relief in Preston will now be 13p in the pound, instead of 13.5p in the pound proposed by the previous Government. The corresponding reduction in estimated rate support grant is about £31,000.

Mr. Thorne

Does my hon. Friend agree that although this may seem a small sum it will have an impact in the Preston area? Does he further agree that yet again we are concerned with the allocation of scarce resources, and will he exercise some influence upon the Government to ensure that the resources allocated to arms expenditure are suitably reduced in order to meet people's needs in the Preston area?

Mr. Oakes

I mentioned the £31,000, not to minimise the matter but to draw attention to the fact that many authorities which are very worried about the rate support grant have not really grasped the fact that it was the previous Government's rate support grant measures that we in principle had to adopt because of the time factor. With regard to the rate support grant in the future, we are considering how to allocate central Government support more fairly and effectively.

Mr. Marten

Does the Minister agree that possibly the way to cut back arms expenditure for the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) would be to look at the British Aircraft Corporation works at Preston?