HC Deb 04 April 1974 vol 871 cc1437-8
Q2. Mr. Hunt

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint a Minister for Greater London.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Hunt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that all I am asking for is to have someone on the Government Front Bench upon whom I can vent the anger and indignation of my constituents, and of millions of people throughout the Greater London area, following the 85 per cent. increase in the GLC rating demand—an anger which in Bromley has been intensified and accentuated by the Government's rate support grant proposals?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman should be venting his wrath on the Opposition Front Bench and not on the Government. The hon. Gentleman will know that as a result of the Government's action there was an improvement in these matters. The hon. Gentleman's party did not vote against that action on any convincing scale.

Mr. Wellbeloyed

Will my right hon. Friend note that the overwhelming majority of the people of London will join me in congratulating the Government on the prompt and just action which they took in redressing the unfair rate support grant, thereby relieving the ratepayers of London of the unfair burden which had been placed upon them?

Further, will my hon. Friend note that the problems of London are now so immense, because of the breakdown of local government, the drift of staff and the shortage of teachers because of the London allowance, that there is urgent need for a Minister to deal with London's special problems?

The Prime Minister

I would say that my hon. Friend is probably right in what he says about the reaction of the people of London. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment and I are meeting Sir Reginald Goodwin and other representatives of London government tomorrow.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer

Does the Prime Minister realise that we want a Minister not for Greater London but for Greater Louth, and that we would like that Minister to explain to my constituents why the rates have gone up 10p in Louth but down 7p in Huyton?

The Prime Minister

That is a very interesting question, and I should like to look into it. I was not aware of this consideration, but I shall consider the position of Louth, since the hon. Gentleman has made the comparison. But the situation generally was fully explained by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, and I do not recall a very convincing vote by the Opposition against his proposals.