§ 7. Mr. Monro
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had with the regional councils concerning the distribution formula for rate support grant; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Millan
For the 1975–76 settlement the usual consultations took place through the Local Government Finance (Scotland) Working Party. It has never been the practice to consult local authorities individually.
§ Mr. Monro
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that Dumfries and Galloway have lost over £2 million in rate support grant on account of the new distribution formula, which has pushed up the rates so that there has been a 150 per cent. increase? Will he say why rates in Scotland have not been cushioned in the same way as they were cushioned in England last year? Is it not time to take action, bearing in mind the anger of the ratepayers?
§ Mr. Millan
It is true that the new distribution formula has meant that the Dumfries and Galloway region has had a comparative reduction in the rate support grant. That was a deliberate action because it was felt by the working party that Dumfries and Galloway had done rather well in the past. Even with these changes, the level of rates in the hon. Gentleman's area is still substantially less than in Scotland as a whole.